Skip to content

Social Stability

“Looking for Dead Bodies” – Tragedies Under China’s Cremation Policy

For many years and in most areas, China has implemented a compulsory cremation policy. In some small towns that believe in Feng Shui, however, people still try to bury their deceased family members. Some have even tried to find a replacement dead body to cremate and in some cases, people have been killed because of it. It has become a secret practice in the funeral industry.

An article, “Looking for a Dead Body” that Sohu published on April 7 was quickly deleted. The article exposed a case in Shanwei City of Guangdong province in which a family offered to pay for a replacement “dead body” for the deceased father because the father said he didn’t want to be cremated after he dies. In 2017, after the father passed away, the family paid 107,000 yuan (US$16,315) for a dead body to replace the father in the cremation. A local coffin driver ended up killing a mentally handicapped person and swapped the body for cremation. A court paper showed how, in January of this year, the driver was arrested and sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve.

In 1997, China implemented new funeral regulations. They stipulated that cremation is implemented except for ethnic minorities and in a few regions. The main reason is the land scarcity due to population growth. In Shanwei city where the murder case was reported, it ranked the bottom in the nation on implementing the cremation policy. The city didn’t enforce the ban on burial and the sale of coffins until 2012. However, many people still find ways to bury their deceased relative secretly. They may swap with another dead human or an animal body. There have been at least four other similar cases reported in Lufeng region of Shanwei city. Many of the replacement dead bodies are homeless people, beggars, or elderly people living alone.

Some funeral homes also take the opportunity to accept bribes from people who want to have the deceased family member buried. A Sohu report disclosed one incident in 2014, in which one funeral home asked for 60,000 yuan (US$9,149) to replace the body. Almost all of the wealthy families in the region have paid for a replacement body so they could bury their dead family members.

Source: Central News Agency, April 9, 2021
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/firstnews/202104090191.aspx

On Eve of Qingming, Wuhan Ran out of Chrysanthemum

This year, the Qingming Festival fell on Sunday April 4. It is an important date in the traditional Chinese lunar New Year calendar as that is when millions travel to tend to the graves of their ancestors and family members, offering flowers and burning incense.

Xiaoxiang Morning News, an influential local newspaper in Hunan province, reported that 320,000 people packed the mausoleums and grave yards in Wuhan city on the eve of the Qingming Festival. The report also said that in order to buy a bunch of chrysanthemum, a traditional funeral flower, Wuhanese came out early in the morning and waited in long lines, even though there was a short of supply and the price was high. With too many people buying the flower, Wuhan ran out of chrysanthemum. When a Chinese writer Yan Xiaoyi shared the story on her social media account, someone reported her and her account was banned.

According to official figures, as of April 16 last year, the number of deaths from the Corona virus in China was 3,869; Wuhan accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total number of infections and more than three-quarters of the deaths.

The Civil Affairs Office of the Hubei province government released the information that, in the first quarter of last year, more than 150,000 seniors in the province suddenly disappeared from the list of benefit recipients. The authorities refused to offer an explanation, and forbade the media or individuals from collecting statistics on funeral related information.

Source: Radio Free Asia, April 5, 2021
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/tomb-04052021042615.html

Can’t Afford to Die – China’s Funeral Expenses Average 45.4 Percent of Annual Salaries

April 4 is the day for the Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day when Chinese families visit their ancestors’ graves.

The data released by the China Funeral Association in 2014 show that funeral services reached 200 billion yuan in 2014. The funeral industry has developed into a booming sector.

According to analysts, China’s funeral industry’s market size was about 263.8 billion yuan in 2020 and may reach 411.4 billion yuan by 2026. Based on the data available, the gross profit margin of leading funeral service companies has been over 80 percent, far exceeding that of leading real estate companies in China, which hovers between 22 and 25 percent.

Behind the funeral industry’s profits are the public’s concerns that the rising cost of funerals means that people will soon be unable to afford funeral services.

A survey report on global funeral expenses by the British life insurance agency SunLife shows that the average funeral expenses worldwide are about 10 percent of the annual income of the local people. For China, however, funeral expenses (37,375 yuan or around US $5,690.90) account for about 45.4 percent of the average annual salaries, ranking second globally.

Source: Tencent, April 3, 2021.
https://new.qq.com/omn/20210402/20210402A0DMAL00.html

BBC Chinese: Inside China’s Internet Censorship – A Former Inspector’s Experience

Liu Lipeng, a former cyber inspector, defected from China in 2020. He gave his personal recount of what a cyber inspector does in China.

Liu took a job as a Sina Weibo cyber inspector out of curiosity. He had little knowledge of what the work entailed. There was no formal training because any college graduate in China knows what the politically sensitive words are. When there are certain political events, the inspectors will receive orders from the top telling them that certain related words must be deleted and blocked. From 2011 to 2013, Liu recalled being notified of a dozen words a day to block or delete. Then the number increased to several dozen a day. The list kept getting longer over the years. Sometimes they would get over 200 instructions a day to block or delete contents. As a cyber inspector, Liu had to read documents containing hundreds and thousands of words each day. He also kept a daily log of his work activity, which he is currently organizing as he plans to publish it on the China Digital Times website.

As the log was accumulating over the years, Liu started to fear for his safety. In the past, he also supplied some of the information to foreign media. If he had been caught, it would have been considered a crime. After the COVID 19 outbreak in 2020, China put a tighter control over the public. There are checkpoints everywhere and people are required to swipe their mobile phone to show their personal code. Fearing for his safety, he decided to leave China.

According to Liu, it is known that China has been using the firewall to censor domestic opinion. However, the Western world knows little about China devoting efforts to develop an Internet army force to launch a propaganda campaign outside of China and to shape public opinion around the world.

In terms of Tiktok, Liu said it has 20,000 people working daily to improve the content flow and make it more appealing and easier to control. So they don’t need a cyber inspector. Regarding the Xinjiang issue, China’s censorship system is very discriminatory and has no respect for Uyghurs or for the Uyghur language. For people who use Clubhouse, if the cyber inspector hears people speaking Uyghur, they can immediately delete the posting. If it was in a live broadcast and they heard someone speaking Uyghur, they would warn the person to switch to Chinese, otherwise they would cut off the live broadcast.

Source: BBC Chinese, March 20, 2021
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/56348346

Facial Recognition Installed in Many Stores in China; Personal Data Accessed

On March 15, 2021, China Central Television (CCTV) reported that many stores have had monitors installed. Because of facial recognition, this has allowed access to the customers’ personal information. According to one of the companies that installed the monitors for those stores, the amount of facial recognition data collected is in the range of hundreds of millions.

It has been reported that such monitors are almost ubiquitous in China. Monitors installed in some stores seem to be harmless but they contain facial recognition systems and the stores secretly access data without informing the customers.

CCTV has visited more than 20 stores across the country that are equipped with facial recognition systems. These stores have all secretly accessed the facial recognition data collected from their customers. They include stores of well-known foreign companies such as Kohler, BMW, and 4S Stores in Shenzhen, Wuxi and Max Mara.

As soon as customers enter a store that has a facial recognition monitor, their faces will be captured and identification numbers automatically generated, without their knowledge. For a chain store, the store will know which location the customer goes to and how many times they have been there.

Companies that help these stores install monitors with facial recognition include Suzhou Wandianzhang Internet Technology Co., Ltd., Yoluoke Electronic Technology Co., Ltd., Guangzhou Yaliang Smart Technology Co., Ltd., and Shenzhen Ruiwei Information Technology Co., Ltd.

According to Suzhou Wandianzhang Internet Technology Co., Ltd., it has installed millions of monitors with facial recognition and its database contains hundreds of millions of records that the stores have collected.

Source: China Central Television, March 15, 2021
https://news.cctv.com/2021/03/15/ARTIieo9QjynMSXTVDb224QE210315.shtml

Sichuan International Studies University Hires Student Information Officers

Sichuan International Studies University issued an internal notice to recruit student information officers. The notice stated that candidates will be managed and paid by the Chongqing City Public Security Bureau. Their responsibility will be to monitor security information on campus. Students who understand minority languages are preferred. It is believed that this was meant to be able to monitor foreign students from the countries where such languages are spoken.

In the notice that the security office of the university issued on March 8, it said that they will hire 3 student information officers for each department. It is believed that there is already one anonymous student information officer in each class to monitor speech by fellow classmates and professors.

Since Xi Jinping came to power, universities have elevated the ideological control on campus. The authorities have secretly deployed surveillance personnel in schools to monitor teachers’ speech in the classroom and student activities. Since 2019, dozens of teaching staff, including Tang Yun, a professor at Chongqing Normal University, have lost their teaching positions due to student informants. Professors are now highly alert and have had to self-censor their speech inside and outside the classroom.

Source: Radio Free Asia, March 11, 2021
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/minority-03112021050316.html

School Counselor Suspended for “Insulting Heroes”

Hong Kong Sing Tao Daily reported that a counselor from the Sichuan Vocational and Technical College was suspended and under police investigation for using a class group chat to “harass students” during after school hours. The students filed complaints with the school and posted the screenshot of counselor’s comments on the Internet. The screenshot showed that the counselor made comments that were “insults to heroes who are fighting for China at the China-Indian boarder.” The counselor also called the head of the “WHO,” Tedros Adhanom “Tedros China” and openly opposed wearing a mask during the epidemic. This is not the first time that the students complained about the counselor, but this time they posted the comments online, which pressured the school to take action.

The CCP has been using “anonymous tips” to monitor public opinion and actions. During the Cultural Revolution, it encouraged the family members to use “tips” against each other causing hundreds and thousands of families to be torn apart. This “anonymous tips” tactic still exists to this day, especially in schools and colleges.

In mid-February, the Epoch Times learned from overseas Chinese that local authorities in many parts of China were asking the schools to investigate students’ religious backgrounds and encourage them to report the religion of their parents and fellow classmates.

Sources:
1. Sing Tao Daily, March 1, 2021
https://www.singtaousa.com/sf/9-%E5%85%A9%E5%B2%B8/3296737-%E9%AB%98%E6%A0%A1%E6%95%99%E5%B8%AB%E3%80%8C%E4%BE%AE%E8%BE%B1%E8%8B%B1%E9%9B%84%E3%80%8D%E5%81%9C%E8%81%B7/

2. Sound of Hope, February 28, 2021
https://www.soundofhope.org/post/479363

Medical Experts and Elected Officials Condemn Forced Organ Harvesting in China

On Wednesday, February 24, the “International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China” (ETAC) hosted a seminar on the CCP’s live organ harvesting. 117 people including legal experts and elected officials from the U.S., Canada, the UK, the EU, and Australia attended the seminar.

One of the keynote speakers was Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a prosecutor at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the Chair of the China Tribunal (Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China.) Nice said that forced organ harvesting is the worst crime since World War II. On June 17, 2019, after a five-day hearing with over 50 witnesses, medical experts, and investigators, the China Tribunal released a 60-page summary and confirmed that crimes against humanity, including forced organ harvesting, have been committed in China.

Sean Lin, former lab director for the viral diseases branch at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, said Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted by the CCP for many years and they are the primary targets of organ harvesting. Dr. Lin said that, after the CCP started to suppress Falun Gong in 1999, the number of organ transplants in China saw a dramatic increase, from military hospitals to large size hospitals, across the country. The crime still continues today. When investigators contacted hospitals in China, they were told the wait time for organs is very short. Apparently, a large organ donor supply exists in China. For cultural reasons voluntary donations in China hardly exist at all. He said that “as indicated by the China Tribunal, the international community should demand the CCP take immediate actions to stop this atrocity instead of simply conducting more investigations. … Forced organ harvesting is not only a crime against humanity but it is also a form of genocide.”

International human rights lawyer David Matas proposed legal action such as the Magnitsky Act to sanction communist China. Wendy Rogers, a Professor of Clinical Ethics at Macquarie University in Australia proposed that more institutions and scientific organizations could press the CCP and ban doctors involved from attending international conferences or publishing papers. Overseas patients should also be restricted from going on medical trips to China to receive organs harvested from living Falun Gong practitioners.

A number of countries have spoken against the forced organ harvesting. The annual human rights report from the U.S. Department of State quoted the judgment from the China Tribunal and also recorded the deaths of 96 Falun Gong practitioners in China that year, caused by the suppression. On December 16, 2020, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, together with House representatives Chris Smith and Tom Suozzi, introduced a bill to stop forced organ harvesting in China. Known as the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act, this bill aimed to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience. According to Marilou McPhedran, MP from Canada a measure called S-240 had been introduced to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs). On February 22, Canadian MPs voted unanimously to pass a motion from the Conservative Party that designated communist China’s treatment of Uyghurs as genocide.

According to information from the Minghui, over 4,000 Falun Gong practitioners have lost their lives to the persecution in China. At least 84 died in 2020 alone. Due to information censorship, the real number of victims could be much higher. Furthermore, a large number of practitioners have gone missing in the 21-year-long persecution since 1999.

Source: Minghui.org, February 26, 2021
https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2021/2/26/191136.html