“Two million tombs in Zhoukou, one of the oldest cities on the mainland, have been removed over the past few months under a new provincial government policy to make more land available for agriculture.
“A spokesman from the city’s civil affairs bureau, which is in charge of the grave demolitions, said the city government had no intention of halting the campaign, even though the State Council last Friday struck out a clause from regulations that allowed for forced demolition of grave sites.
“‘We are still clearing graves for farmland and we will definitely continue doing that,’ he said. The spokesman said the State Council announcement only meant the civil affairs bureau had no right to carry out compulsory demolitions. ‘The courts and the police bureau will instead take responsibility for execution,’ he said.
“The revised version of the funeral and interment control regulation removed a sentence in Article 20 that allowed for forced demolitions.
“The amendment, which will come into effect next year, came after an online petition campaign by a group of scholars and thousands of people from Henan.
“State-run Xinhua released a report earlier this month praising the demolition project. A Henan reporter said mainland media ignored the petition, launched days before the Communist Party’s 18th national congress.”
“A story on the website of the People’s Daily last month said the local government would give a family that cleared a grave about 1,000 yuan (US$157), but five families from different villages in Zhoukou told the South China Morning Post they had not received any money.
“‘And there’s no such thing as ‘public graveyards’, those are open fields,’ said a villager from Zhoukou’s Taikang county.”Source: SCMP “Henan city refuses to stop clearance of graves to make farmland”
- Grave concerns suspend tomb relocation in Henan province (wantchinatimes.com)
- Two million graves in China flattened to make room for farmland (thetimes.co.uk)