Thousands of tombs ‘taking up space of living’ demolished in China

Authorities say over 70,000 tombs built by people for use when they die limited the amount of available land in a Chinese county, news website reports

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 April, 2018, 3:50pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 April, 2018, 4:10pm

A county in central China has demolished over 70,000 tombs illegally built by residents to prepare for when they die, according to a news website report.

It is a custom among people living in Tongcheng county in Hubei province to commission their tomb while still alive, but the local authorities say the structures sprawl across the local area and have even been built in public parks as well as rural areas, Cnr.cn reported. 

The crackdown on the buildings began last July. 

Zhang Dengpan, the county’s deputy civil affairs bureau chief, was quoted as saying: “With the improvement in living standards, people have started building tombs for their sons and even their grandsons only a few years old. The living will have no space if this trend continues.”

The tombs include lavish structures built by successful businessmen with pools, gardens and marble staircases around them, according to the report.

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The spread of graves was such a problem it was putting pressure on limited land resources, the authorities were quoted as saying.

Residents who have their tombs demolished will get a plot in a public graveyard with over 70,000 spaces. 

This will be enough to meet burial demand for the next 70 years, Zhang told the news website.