China: Around The Nation

Land-scarce Beijing offers residents choice of free bio-funerals

Ashes of the dearly departed are buried in degradable caskets beneath memorial lawns

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 March, 2017, 5:41pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 March, 2017, 5:41pm

Ahead of the Ching Ming grave sweeping festival this week, Beijing held its first “natural burial” ceremony on Saturday, signalling a brand-new form on interment in a country where the use of coffins prevail, the Beijing Morning News reports.

The ashes of 31 deceased persons were placed inside biodegradable containers that were interred in a section of lawn in Chaoyang District’s Changqing Cemetery.

The casket will dissolve completely in about six months, and the ashes will become part of the soil.

How QR codes are adding a load more memory to loved ones' memorials

The burial method promises to reduce the burden that traditional coffin burials place on cost, land and resources in a country with an ageing population of more than 1 billion.

The Beijing government is offering this “natural burial” service for free to residents of the city.

Relatives who choose the lawn burials can obtain bronze commemorative plaques engraved with the person’s name and a QR code.

Upon scanning the code, one can view online the person’s photos, videos, biography, family tree and leave condolences in a message section, the report said.

The Beijing government also offers free sea burials for residents. Last year 2,456 people took up that offer.