China / Society

Elderly suicide link with coffin ban denied

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-05-28 18:30

HEFEI - The government of Anqing city said on Wednesday that the suicide of six elderly people were not connected to a new regulation banning coffin burial.

According to a statement from the publicity office of Anqing in east China's Anhui Province, none of the deaths were linked with the new regulation that comes to force on June 1.

However, Beijing News quoted family members of the deceased as saying that they had committed suicide "to avoid the new regulations on funerals".

Anqing is one of two cities in the province which still allow coffin burial.

At the end of 2013, only 11 percent of deceased in the city were cremated, far lower than the provincial average of 80 percent. Since April 1, the local government has persuaded party cadres and officials to take the lead.

In response to request for compensation for the cost of previously purchased coffins, the city has provided funds and officials have not confiscated coffins, the statement said, adding that the new regulation would be applied gradually and with flexibility.

China has a long tradition of ancestor worship, which usually requires families to bury their relatives and construct a tomb. In recent years local governments have gone so far as to demolish tombs as part of a campaign encouraging cremation to save on limited land resources.

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