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May 30, 2012

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Tombstones were used as pavers at city park

LOCAL residents have been surprised to find that the bank of a lake in Yangpu Park is paved by some old tombstones on which English, Latin and Chinese memorial words and names can still be seen.

A local resident surnamed Chen said when he was walking at the central lake of Yangpu Park on Shuangyang Road over the weekend, he came across words and signs barely visible on some of stones on the bank where he was stepping.

"On one of the stones, a cross sign can be clearly seen and below it were English words saying someone was born in 1920 and died in 1925," said Chen.

He found it difficult to believe his eyes, though.

"I doubt whether the stones are actually tombstones which were misused to pave the bank," he said.

Near that stone, another lying on the bank said, "R.I.P. Lai Rose." Below the name are memorial words which cannot be seen clearly. On another, Chinese words read "The Tomb of Ma's Wife" and "Bless her to rest in peace forever."

Tombstones abandoned

A resident surnamed Li in his sixties said he had seen those tombstones when he was 10 years old. "Many other stones on the bank might also be tombstones as the words have been worn down in the past decades, or the workers paved the bank with the tombstones upside down," said Li.

Residents have wondered about why tombstones were used and whether it is disrespectful to the deceased to step on them.

In response, an official surnamed Shen with the park told the Youth Daily that before it was first opened to the public in 1958, it used to be a graveyard. The graveyard was replaced by the park. Workers building up banks near the lake used some of the gravestones abandoned on the site, Shen said.

Residents said the graveyard was located on land now occupied by the lake, and they wondered if there still were bodies there. Officials said they have no record of what happened to the bodies.

Shen said no one ever came to claim the tombstones.

Wu Qingwen, another park official, said many Jewish people lived in Yangpu District in the old times who might be owners to some of the gravestones.


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