|Family enraged after corpse set ablaze by officials
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.
This is an extreme example of the country's unevenly-enforced funeral policy, which tries to encourage cremation, AFP reports.
But traditional Chinese belief holds that burial 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 farmer, 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.
When they learnt of the burial, local officials demanded that the family dig up Cheng's body and cremate it, the paper reported. Relatives ignored the order and the officials, along with police and firefighters, dug up Cheng's coffin, poured petrol on it and ignited it.
“They wouldn't let us get near,'' Cheng's daughter Cheng Yinzhu told Anhui TV station, which also aired footage of police and villagers confronting each other after the forced cremation.
Since the 1950s China has called for most city residents to be cremated and in 2012 the national cremation rate was 49.5 percent, the China Daily reported.