TIANJIN, July 21 (Xinhua) -- A new method for disposing of human ashes has sparked debate, as the ashes preserved in containers made from biodegradable material are deigned to "disappear" in, at most, months.
The Yong'an Cemetery in north China's Tianjin Municipality initiated ecological burials this year, prior to the Chinese traditional Tomb-sweeping Day on April 5. But a large-scale such funeral held by the cemetery on Tuesday has triggered wider discussions.
"I definitely won't want to 'disappear' in the world this way. I hope that the caskets of my family can be buried together, which stands for reunion," said Ni Ruixin, a 60-year-old resident in Tianjian, who had worked with a university. "For the same reason, I will suggest to other family members not to do this."
Wang Yiqing, a 25-year-old newspaper editor in Beijing, regarded the new system as unnecessary. "A small casket retains the ties between the living and the deceased. Moreover, how much space can a small casket occupy? Isn't it too rigorous to label it as environmentally-unfriendly?"
While some accused the new burial system of breaching the funeral traditions, others asserted it complied with the Chinese philosophy of life and death.
"The method can save land resources, reflecting the Chinese theory that man is an integral part of nature," said Zhu Hongde, another Tianjin resident.
"It's quite natural for the dead to come back to nature," said an 80-year-old retired teacher, surnamed An, in Tianjin.
Many Chinese youths were working far away from their hometown and seldom had time to honor the dead, making a permanent tomb more of a waste, An added.