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China officials set corpse ablaze in cremation row

Published on Dec 31, 2013 4:04 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - Officials in a Chinese village dug up and set fire to a man's corpse after his family ignored their demand that he be cremated rather than buried, state media reported on Tuesday.

The case is an extreme example of the country's unevenly-enforced funeral policy, which tries to encourage cremation rather than interment given the wide range of alternative uses for land.

But traditional Chinese belief holds that an intact corpse buried in the earth allows the dead person's soul to live in peace. Confucian edicts say that ensuring one's body, hair and skin are not damaged is the most basic way to show respect to one's parents since they are gifts from them.

Cheng Chaomu, an 83-year-old peasant, was buried at Qinfeng in the eastern province of Anhui three days after his December 13 death by family members who said interment was his "dying wish", the state-run China Daily reported.

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