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Burying loved ones deadly expensive

[ 2009-04-01 13:41]     字号 [] [] []  
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Think purchasing a house in Guangzhou is expensive? Try buying a place to bury your loved ones.

An average grave in this southern city costs 30,000 yuan ($4,390), and a better one may be double that, yesterday's Nanfang Daily reported.

That makes a grave, meter for meter, more expensive than a house.

"Guangzhou has only nine graveyards and graves are in short supply," said Li Guoqing, director of the Guangzhou Funeral and Interment Service Center. "The surging demand is pushing prices so high."

A standard grave ranges from 14,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan per sq m in the city, and those in better locations may cost 200,000 yuan or even one million yuan.

On the other hand, the average price of a house in Guangzhou is 9,000 yuan per sq m, with only very good locations reaching 20,000 yuan per sq m.

"A tomb for my parents would be too expensive if my brothers and sisters didn't pool money together," said a local citizen surnamed Xu.

After trips to all the graveyards in Guangzhou and even in the neighboring Pearl River Delta cities like Dongguan and Foshan, he finally chose one in the suburbs of Guangzhou.

"All my brothers and sisters are in Guangzhou; we think we'd better buy a grave for our parents here," Xu said. "I think it's going to cost more than 70,000 yuan."

Xu plans to bury his parents' ashes before Tomb-Sweeping Day, which falls on the coming Saturday, so he moved their ashes from his hometown in Chaozhou, a city in the east of the province, after the Spring Festival

"It's a tradition in China to lay the dead to rest in a grave," Xu said.

"At least 80 percent of the people in Guangdong intend to bury the dead in graves, despite the efforts of the government to encourage people to plant trees with the ashes or scatter the ashes in the sea," Li said.

He said the situation is similar in other cities across the country, adding that the state's funeral and interment reform encourages environmentally friendly and land-efficient ways of treating the ashes.


1. Why are graves, meter for meter, more expensive than homes in Guangzhou?

2. What percent of people bury their loved ones?

3. Name the other ways the government is trying to encourage people to do with their loved ones’ bodies?


1. There are only nine graveyards and graves are in short supply.

2. At least 80 percent.

3. Plant trees with the ashes or scatter the ashes in the sea.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Burying loved ones deadly expensive

About the broadcaster:

Burying loved ones deadly expensiveBernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.