Temple banned from selling prime urn space

Updated: 2013-09-24 11:57


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A Taoist temple has suspended offering “blessed” funerary urns costing up to 26,800 yuan ($4,378), under orders by civil affairs officials in Taizhou city of Jiangsu province, Xinhua Daily reported Monday.

Chenghuang Temple, The City God Temple, in Taizhou set up a hall within the temple offering 828 cubicles for funerary urns. Those wishing to be blessed for an after-life can buy a prime position ranging from 3,680 to 26,800 yuan according to its distance to the center of the hall, viewed as the "most blessed" positions.

As a key cultural relic site under State protection it will never be dismantled, and the resplendently decorated hall, dubbed "Fuxing Hall" which shares the pronunciation with the Chinese word meaning "bless and star", will provide a "permanent" position for a loved one's remains.

A Taoist priest surnamed Li said the temple is attracting donations to further extend its construction.

But Taizhou civil affairs bureau said any construction of funerary urns halls in the city must receive its ratification, and the temple was committing unlicensed business activities.

A cultural relics expert said national regulations ban cultural relics sites from making profits through its assets, and donations to the temple are actually transactions.