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December 17, 2009

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Disney locked into grave issue

SHANGHAI Disneyland is going to be built on some hallowed ground in Pudong New Area.

About 1,200 tombs will be moved in order for the Mickey Mouse theme park to be built, funeral authorities said yesterday.

Separately, officials said they would promote a new tomb that uses less land.

Chinese families will move the graves of their ancestors if they believe the new location is better. People believe that a good burial place will bless future generations.

Thus, negotiations proved to be delicate with the families of four villages in Pudong's Chuansha Town.

The local government and the villagers eventually agreed that a subsidy of 300 yuan (US$43) an urn will be provided so they can find a new resting place for their ancestors.

Huilong Cemetery in Pudong will set aside 1,000 square meters to bury urns and another 1,000 square meters to establish mini-tombs. A mini-tomb will cost 3,600 yuan.

"For families who choose to bury urns without a grave in our cemetery, the 300 yuan subsidy will be given to us directly," said Ding Guojun, general manager of the cemetery. "More than 400 tombs have been moved so far."

Ding said most tombs will be moved between December 25 and 27 to avoid a tomb sweeping peak on December 22, winter solstice. The remainder will be moved before next year's Qingming Festival.

Also yesterday, the Shanghai Funeral and Interment Association said it will soon start promoting "duplicate tombs."

The land-saving tombs will occupy only 1 square meter and will hold up to eight urns, officials said.

The project is being tested at two cemeteries. The tombs are expected to be used in cemeteries across the city around the Qingming Festival.

The association said every year the city will allocate 165,000 square meters of land for tombs.


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