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Mortuary workers try to offer comfort

(China Daily) Updated: 2013-04-06 10:49

Caring team gives each case personal care

At the mortuary in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, most of the faces are young. These workers are from the post-1980 and post-1990 generation, and they are eager to let each deceased person depart with dignity.

A China Daily reporter and photographer came to the Tianquan Jiajing service center on the eve of the Qingming Festival this year to show our readers the life and work of these young morticians.

There are nine workers, five men and four women, ranging from 20 to 25 years old. These young professionals are trained by a senior professional instructor from Taiwan. During a work break every afternoon, the students practice - each taking a turn as a "model".

Mortuary workers try to offer comfort

Two workers prepare to apply cosmetics on a dummy figure. [Photo by Gao Erqiang / China Daily]

The point of the experience, the instructor said, is that each movement by the body handlers should "show respect for a life".

It usually requires about two hours to clean, and apply cosmetics to the body, and then dress the person in clothes chosen by the family. Family members are invited to watch the procedure.

Prior to each step, the staff will comfort the departed with a few words, saying "now it's time to change the bed", "it's time to wash your face", "it's time to clean your body".

The workers treat each body they care for as if the person were their own relative, they say, "regarding death as a birth".

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