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Shenzhen fury over Hong Kong's funeral hub plan

2015-June-23       Source: Szdaily.com

Hong Kong is to build a "funeral hub" on its northern border, but the plan has sparked opposition from residents of Shenzhen just across the Shenzhen River.

Hong Kong is to build a "funeral hub" on its northern border, but the plan has sparked opposition from residents of Shenzhen just across the Shenzhen River.

The hub at rural Sandy Ridge district, to be completed by 2022, will boast 30 funeral parlors contained in a huge building, as well as 10 cremation facilities and 200,000 niches for the placement of ash urns, reported the Southern Metropolis Daily, which obtained the plan's details from Hong Kong's Food and Health Bureau.

The bureau, which is responsible for building the hub, also revealed that the Hong Kong government had affirmed the plan's feasibility in 2012 and has secured budget for the construction.

But residents in neighboring Shenzhen, who only learned about the hub recently from the local media, are outraged that what they call a "disgusting" industry is coming to their doorstep.

Living close to a cemetery or anything associated with dead people is frowned upon in Chinese culture, the Chinese news service pointed out.

Liang Rui, a deputy in Shenzhen's legislature, has submitted proposals to Shenzhen's government asking that Hong Kong be made to trim or revise its plan, the Daily Sunshine reported.

"It is psychologically disturbing if you see a cemetery whenever you open your windows," the Daily Sunshine quoted a man surnamed Wang who lives in Luohu as saying.

"The undeveloped Sandy Ridge now offers quite a nice view. If a cemetery is built here... our life quality and air quality will drop," added Wang.

An online post pointed out that the monsoon winds in the region will bring the cremation emissions from Sandy Ridge to the south coast of Shenzhen, causing property prices there to drop.

"Residents will flee from there," said the post, which was signed off with the name Wudalang.

The Daily Sunshine found out that the post was co-written by a director and a manager of a property development company that has some uncompleted projects in southern Shenzhen.

According to a car park attendant, the dead of Hong Kong began to "disturb" Shenzhen in 1996, when graves appeared on the hills of Sandy Ridge.

But now the "disturbance" has grown in scale, he quipped.

Having only six crematoriums and seven licensed funeral parlors, Hong Kong is finding it hard to cope with the rise in the number of deaths each year — which has exceeded 40,000 — as its population ages.

Editor: Chan

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