Source: Xinhuanet

03-14-2007 16:47

A legislator has called on Chinese to reform their ideas on burials and lay ashes of the dead under trees to save land, as most people are still used to the traditional way of building a tomb to bury bodies or ashes.

"Why shall people take several square meters to bury the bone ashes of a dead person? Don't forget China has a huge population of 1.3 billion," said Wang Longjun, deputy to the National People' s Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

Wang said the government should set up tree burial parks on the outskirts of cities which offer free services to local residents. The NPC is holding its annual full session in Beijing, which saw more than 2,800 deputies raise motions and suggestions on a variety of issues for national economic and social development.

In Wang's proposal, people should bury the bone ashes of their relatives under trees and hold memorial ceremonies in front of the trees. The daily operation of tree burial parks is paid by the government or public donations.

The lawmaker also called for more publicity about environment- friendly burials to raise the awareness of the masses.

The Chinese have a tradition to honor the dead by grand memorial ceremonies and burials, and tombs covering a large area of land are not rare in some areas, which have been criticized as lavish and a threat to the country's precious farmland.

From 1996 to 2004, China's arable land shrank from 130 million hectares to 122 million hectares, with an annual average decrease of 950,000 hectares.

Meanwhile, China's population has been growing by 10 million each year, leading to concerns about food security in the world's most populous nation, where 22 percent of the world's population live on only 7 percent of the world's arable land.


Editor:Liu Fang