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Home  /  Picture of the Day  /  Pic of the Day by Category  /  Chinese Society & Education 社会和教育  /  盘点清明节网络热词:“天价墓”“死不起”引热议 - A check-up on hot internet expressions during `Tomb Sweeping Day`; `sky price tombs` and `unaffordable death` induce hot discussion
盘点清明节网络热词:“天价墓”“死不起”引热议 - A check-up on hot internet expressions during `Tomb Sweeping Day`; `sky price tombs` and `unaffordable death` induce hot discussion print version
level 3
清明节[1]小长假期间 "天价墓" [2] "死不起" [3]成为网络热词







在很多城市,一个成本只有几十元的骨灰盒[17],可以卖到三四千元甚至更高。除此之外,家属还要给殡葬过程中各个程序的工作人员 "白包"[18] 。

During the short "Tomb Sweeping Day" holiday, 'sky price tombs' and 'unaffordable death' have become popular expressions throughout the internet.

"Cherish the memory of past heroes":
This year is the 90th anniversary of China's Communist Party and also the 100 anniversary of the 1911 revolution. In the period of 'Tomb Sweeping Day', there is a rush all over the country at the tombs of martyrs, as masses come, clean and offer sacrifices at the ancestral tombs. China's common people have certainly not forgotten those past heroes, using the mode of 'going on a spring outing and sacrificing for the heroes', cherishing the memories of the past-generations' heroes and filling their hearts with grief and warm memories.

Expert analysis: Although times are changing, the esteem feelings which common people hold toward those heroic ancestors, who devoted themselves for the sake of liberation and freedom, have not changed whatsoever.

'Sky price tombs':
According the ranking of ten large 'sky price tombs', conducted by, Xiamen's Peace & Happiness Permanent Cemetery stands at the first place with tombs costing 8 million RMB. These 'sky price' luxurious tombs are not a rare sight throughout the country. Moreover, in Guangzhou, more and more expensive burial grounds already exceed apartment prices.

Expert analysis: The core of 'sky price tombs' is land, just like in real estate matters. The key is solving the problem of 'good land'. The construction of luxurious tombs should be restricted, as a safeguard for funeral and burial, as well as protecting social justice.

'Green funeral and burial'
Many common people have began to gradually change the traditional concept of 'be laid to rest', and more and more people decide not to occupy space or to occupy a small space for the sake of a more ecological burial method. Burning incense and (fake) paper money, as well as other sacrificial rites are also replaced by new type of environmental-protecting sacrifice methods.

Expert analysis: Although in recent years some cemeteries in various locations begin to build large-size 'ashes halls', occupying small space, and demanding low annual fees, this is still unfavorable by the common people. The environment protecting 'green funeral and burial' don't pollute and is beneficial for economizing land, but the conceptions in the mind of the common people still need to change.

"Unaffordable death":
Case example: In many cities, a cinerary casket, of a net cost of only several dozens of RMB, could be sold for up to 3-4 thousands RMB, even more. Except for this, family members still need to give  'white envelopes' to working personnel, who deal with the procedures of funeral and burial process.

Expert analysis: According to what is understood, the funeral and burial industry is already on the list of the ten industries that make huge profits for 5 consecutive years. This monopoly should be smashed thoroughly, allowing the society' force to join, making the funeral and burial industry a part of the market economy, taking the shape of fair competition and providing reasonable prices, promoting the improvement of the level of this service.

Based on an article published on

[1]清明节 qīng míng jie - 'Tomb sweeping day' (also called `clean bright festival`in English); a traditional Chinese memorial day, taking place around the beginning of April, in which families attend their ancestors tombs, clean them and perform memorial and sacrifice rituals.

[2] "天价墓" tiān jià mù - 'Sky price tombs'; very expensive tombs.

[3] "死不起" sǐ bù qǐ- 'Unaffordable death', 'cannot afford to die'; a commoners' expression, demonstrating the high expenses which accompany one's death.

[4] "缅怀先烈" miǎnhuái xiān liè - 'Cherish the memory of the martyrs', 'cherish the memory of the preceding heroes'.

[5] 烈士 lièshì - Martyr, past heroes; in this article this term is linked to all past ancestors.

[6] 陵墓 língmù - Tomb

[7] 祭扫 jì sǎo - Cleaning and sacrifice rituals in the ancestral tomb

[8]高潮 gāocháo - 'High tide', peak, rush-time

[9] "踏青祭英" tà qīng jì yīng - 'Spring outing, hero sacrifice'; going out on a spring day to perform sacrifice rituals in the ancestral tomb.

[10] 新浪网 xīn làng wǎng -, one of the biggest Chinese internet portals.

[11] 墓园 mù yuán - Cemetery

[12] "绿色殡葬 " lǜsè bìnzàng - 'Green funeral and burial'; Burial and funeral customs which produce minimal damage to the environment, in terms of occupying a small land and not producing waste during sacrifice activities.

[13] "入土为安" rù tǔ wéi ān - 'Enter the ground for peace', 'laid in rest', 'rest in peace'; a Chinese concept of wanting the dead to be buried nicely for the sake of the peace of the body and of the remaining living family members.

[14] 焚香烧纸 fén xiāng shāo zhǐ- Light incense, burn paper money (imitation of money); common customs people perform in front of the ancestral tombs.

[15] 祭奠 jì diàn - Sacrificial rites, memorial ceremonies; the many kinds of traditional customs, performed in front of the ancestral tombs.

[16] 骨灰堂 gǔ huī tang - 'Body ash halls'; Halls where the ash of the dead are kept. This concept is mentioned here as a more economic and environmental way of preserving the memory of the dead, compared to burial, yet it contradicts some deeply rooted Chinese traditional customs.

[17] 骨灰盒 gǔ huī hé - 'Cinerary baskets'; a box in which families keep the ashes of the dead. Such boxes are normally quite aesthetic, and could be made of wood, ceramics, jade, etc.

[18] "白包" bái bāo - 'White envelopes'; a term for money of valuable gifts which family members of the dead provide to the cemetery personnel, for their burial, tomb cleaning, or other services.

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