Final Project: Eco-Burials in China

Posted on May 17, 2013 by


Final Project: Eco-Burials in China

For my final project (please follow the link about to an attached SoundCloud file) I chose to delve deeper into a subject that I found fascinating earlier in the semester. By reading twelve articles, I was able to analyze the push towards ecological burials in China both from a government and a religious viewpoint.

The following images help to demonstrate what I discuss in my final project.


The graveyards in China are becoming too full. It is thought that some cities will run out of land available for graves within the next 5 years, and that all of the grave years in China will be full within the next 10-15 years.


The images above are of the Quingming Festival, or Tomb-Sweeping Festival that takes place in China on April 4th. It is a day to honor your death ancestors by tending to their graves and offering gifts of food, money, etc. Just before the festival in 2013, the Chinese Government began strongly advocating for a shift from ground burials to eco-burials.


These two images depict the most recommended eco-burial: sea burials. The government offers larges incentives for families that are willing to scatter the ashes of their loved ones at sea rather than buried in the ground. The first picture shows a family scattering the ashes, while the second picture represents a “sea funeral” which is similar to a half-day cruise and tries to emulate the rituals of a more traditional funeral.

My sources for this project are:

1. Becky Striepe, “10 Muslim Funeral Traditions.” How Stuff Works: Discovery. (

2. “Break funeral industry monopoly.” China Daily. April 8, 2013. (

3. “Celebration.” China Daily. March 20, 2013. (

4. Chen Lidan, “Chinese embrace eco-burials.” People’s Daily. April 2, 2013. (

5. “China regulates martyears’ burials.” China Daily. April 3, 2013. (

6. “City subsidizes sea burials.” China Daily. February 19, 2013. (

7. Courtney Subramanian, “China Plots More Sea Burials; Faces Grave-Space Limitation.” TIME. April 2, 2013 (

8. Jonathon Vankin, “What Do Taoists Believe About the Afterlife.” People – Opposing Views. May 1, 2013 (

9. Li Yao, “Authorities encourage people to choose ecological burial.” China Daily. March 30, 2013 (

10. Wang Yiqing, “Funerals a death blow to the living.” China Daily. April 3, 2013. (

11. William Wan, “Short on Graves, China turns to sea burials.” The Washington Post. April 3, 2013 (

12. Zheng Caixiong, “Costly cemetery plots sadden Guangzhou.” China Daily. April 2, 2013. (

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