Having a funeral anywhere can have some costs that no one wants to deal with. With the embalming, the caskets, the flowers, and the funeral service, it’s bound to put a dent in anyone’s wallet. But in Beijing, a funeral bill is causing problems with high prices for funeral services here.
A recent report by Beijing news channel sheds light on the controversy with the story of a certain Mr. Deng, who this February arranged for his late wife’s body to be kept in the Peking University morgue for three days while at the same time arranging for cremation. After the affair, Deng was shocked to find a bill for RMB 38,000 awaiting him.
A look at the preserved deng reveals a few odd charges.
In Chinese culture, bathing the dead is important as it is believed to ensure a peaceful life after death. Would you like a decent bath for your loved ones? That’s RMB 5990. How about a proper farewell? That’s another 1500 RMB for people to move the box containing the bodies of your loved ones to be cremated.
Also, the hospital charged a fee of 600 RMB for what they called a “meal service,” which is a bit odd considering the dead can’t eat. “Putting aside all the other accusations, I really don’t understand what kind of food they were feeding dead people. It doesn’t make any sense at all!” said Deng.
There is also an option to view the body before cremation, and you can throw in floral arrangements for the occasion, but it will cost you. A single flower basket costs RMB 2,400, and if you want flowers to be placed on your loved one’s grave after cremation, that’s another RMB 3,800. If you want specific flowers, e.g. B. 压灵花 Yālinghuāwhich is believed to calm dead souls costs about 400 RMB.
An expensive funeral system
said deng Beijing news channel that the total bill “is even more than what my wife was able to earn for a whole year while she was alive!”.
Another Beijing resident named Zheng, who was also interviewed by Beijing News Radio, said the hospital informed her that she had to pay about RMB 5,990 for a service titled “be thankful and show filial respect to your parents.” . “I have no idea what this fee is even about,” Zheng said.
“They had to take my mother-in-law out of the hospital morgue and into a coffin. It was all underground and they covered less than 100 meters but they charged us RMB 1200 and the only special thing they did was put a gold carpet on the floor.”
The dead are the most valuable?
Why do funeral services charge people such expensive fees? Well, there’s an old saying in China that goes like this: The dead are the most precious. The funeral industry would certainly not pass up such a perfect opportunity to monetize the dead.
While many family members find the fees unreasonably high, they are still willing to spend money on their loved ones one last time, to give them peace of mind. And if you don’t want to spend money on the dead, then you will be seen as disrespectful to your deceased loved ones.
Funeral directors use this mindset to maximize profits. And it has even spread to cemeteries.
For example, the price of a cemetery lot in Beijing has increased in recent years. Take Fenghuangshan Cemetery, for example, one of the most famous cemeteries in Changping. An average cemetery lot there can cost anywhere from 60,000 RMB to 100,000 RMB. Such sky-high prices would put the average Chinese household in a difficult financial situation.
Chinese traditions honoring the dead are strong and will never go away. But is it fair for funeral directors to take advantage of their grief and make such a profit out of it? “My grandma lived a very frugal life and never spent money on extravagant things,” said a Beijing resident.
All of this means that we suspect it takes a lot to live, but possibly even a lot more to die.
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