A woman in China's northwestern Shaanxi province, mourning her dead father Liu Bin, was devastated to discover that the wrong body was cremated after his funeral in Fuping county earlier this month, the Shaanxi-based Chinese Business View reported on Friday.
Taking a last-minute look at the body before it was about to be cremated, the daughter was shocked to see that the clothes on it did not match those her family had requested for her dead father.
The funeral home later verified that the body belonged to Liu Jun (not his real name), another deceased man who, according to their records, had been cremated a day earlier.
The funeral home then admitted mixing up the identities of the two bodies and cremating Liu Bin instead.
They explained that Liu Jun's relatives had confirmed the body's identity before they cremated the wrong body.
A staffer at the funeral home, surnamed LI, said the crematorium handled over 400 bodies a year - an average of one to two bodies a day.
“The identities are usually confirmed by relatives at the funeral,” he said. Li said confirmation was done verbally without signing any papers.
"They were both elderly men, and it was hard to tell the difference after make-up was applied." explained Li Qianjin, deputy director of the Fuping County's Civil Affairs Bureau. "They were both wearing a cap which didn't help."
Two staff members were suspended and several directors fined after the incident, the report said.
Shocked by the story, some of China's netizens said the punishment was not severe enough.
"The party chief of the county should be fired - not the workers," commented a netizen on China's twitter-like service Sina Weibo.
Another netizen made a more sinister observation: "I hope they didnt' sell the father's body."