Company offers chance to 'rest in space'

Updated: 2015-02-04 15:38

By Song Wei(

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Company offers chance to 'rest in space'

A man prepares to scatter the ashes of his dead relative in the sea off Nantong, Jiangsu province, on Tuesday. [Xu Peiqin/for China Daily]

Related: A sea change in burial services

Updated: 2014-04-04 08:06

By He Dan (China Daily)

Family members finding new ways to spread loved ones' ashes

More Chinese families are opting to bury their loved ones at sea because of the recent rise in local government subsidies and services for the practice.

He Qingxun, head of the burial and funeral management division at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said on Tuesday that more urban residents are choosing sea burials through the encouragement of local governments.

"Many coastal areas and some inland cities with convenient access to the sea have been promoting sea burials among the public," he said.

In cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, governments are now offering free sea burials or cash subsidies to families. In recent years, interest in sea burials has peaked around Tomb Sweeping Day, which falls on April 5 this year, he said.

Su Jian, a retiree from a loan and trust company in Beijing, said the Beijing Bureau of Civil Affairs helped him scatter the ashes of his parents in the Bohai Sea off the coast of northern China.

The 61-year-old said that apart from free transportation, food and beverages for the half-day trip to the Port of Tianjin, the organizers also provided flowers and butterflies as part of the services.

"Flower petals accompanied the release of the butterflies and solemn music - it felt like we hugged our beloved ones who were in heaven," he said.

"Life started from the ocean, so my family believes that returning to the sea is the best way to embrace nature. We think my parents will be able to reach out to anywhere in the world to see my family members in different places," he said, adding that most of his family members have settled down in Taiwan, Germany and the United States.