It looks like the city of Anqing, in the eastern province of Anhui in China, is creating a precedent that may very well snowball in all of China, where its government officials are banning the sale of coffins and ordering instead the people to be cremated when they die.
This in effect is forcing people to go against their tradition dating back thousands of years of ancestor worship, which requires families to bury their relatives inside a coffin and in most cases to construct a tomb.
Thus, starting June 1, the people have to comply with this new government regulation.
While this new norm of forfeiting ancient tradition does not surprise many considering that the most populous nation in the world requires most of its land more for residential and industrial development in their quest for global economic superiority, the immediate consequence of the law, however, does not augur well among the elderly population where some spend many years preparing for their burial plans, if and when it comes.
The cremation law is having a devastating psychological impact on the old people that many have already committed suicide just so they could still avail of the coffin and could be buried according to their wishes.
One local was quoted as saying: “I’ve had a hard life, and when I’m dead I’d like to sleep somewhere protected from the rain — inside a coffin.”
Wishing for dignity in death is one thing, but in a place where land is limited for economic growth entombing simply becomes a hindrance.