Archive for ‘Ministry of Civil Affairs’

05/04/2019

China Focus: Funeral reform fosters new trends in China

BEIJING, April 5 (Xinhua) — “The air and environment in the cemetery have been notably improved, with less people burning joss paper,” said Wang Fang, a tomb sweeper from Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

This year’s Tomb Sweeping Day, which falls on Friday, witnesses more changes, as China has made various efforts to reform funeral traditions in recent years, and ecological burial and environmentally friendly tomb sweeping practices are increasingly popular.

GREENER BURIAL

In a tea garden in Hangzhou in east China’s Zhejiang Province, there stands a hidden cemetery where burial plots are built under tea trees in a bid to enlarge its green area as well as conserve land.

“It would be good to return to nature here after I pass away,” said a local resident surnamed Wu.

China has seen progress in ecological burials in recent years, especially in developed cities. The first model ecological cemetery of Beijing has been built in Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery, with a green coverage rate of nearly 90 percent.

Currently, ecological burials in first-tier cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, takes up more than 20 percent of the total. It is expected that by 2020, the share of ecological burial across the country reach over 50 percent.

In addition, tomb sweeping practices have become greener. Most tomb sweepers would rather present flowers at tombstones than burn joss paper to pay tribute to their deceased families and friends.

On Tomb Sweeping Day, some cemeteries hold cultural activities, such as calligraphy and painting exhibitions as well as poetry recitals as an alternative to tomb sweeping.

LAND CONSERVATIVE

Besides the “tea garden burial,” other ecological burial methods in China include tree, flower, wall and sea burials.

Replacing traditional tombstones with trees and flower beds, putting urns on shelves in walls or just dropping ashes into the sea requires less or even no land.

“At first people said it was for those in financial difficulties to save money, but as time changes, the popularity of ecological burials have increased,” said Zhao Quansheng, manager of a Yinchuan-based cemetery.

“A customer told us that his father voluntarily asked for an ecological burial to conserve land,” Zhao said.

Non-profit cemeteries are also thriving in places of separate burial traditions. In Yishui County, east China’s Shandong Province, 110 non-profit cemeteries have been built, leading to conservation of large areas of land that otherwise would be utilized for burial sites.

Xue Feng, Party secretary of Yishui, said it used to take about 20 to 27 hectares of land to accommodate all the private tombs in the county, but now it only needs 10 percent of that.

LESS MONEY

China has beefed up funeral infrastructure and public services, with the number of funeral parlours and cemeteries reaching 1,760 and 1,420, respectively.

Since 2009, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has pushed forward fee reduction in basic public funeral services as well as other preferential policies, benefiting low-income groups. For example, commercial cemeteries in Chongqing, Gansu and Ningxia were required to set aside part of their burial sites as non-profits for those with financial difficulties.

“Now the whole funeral is free, including the urn and burial site, which is a great help for households with low incomes like us,” said Yuan Li, a rural resident from Yishui, where funeral services have been free of charge since 2017.

Xue said the fee-reduction policy could save the public nearly 200 million yuan (about 30 million U.S. dollars) annually.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs issued a pilot plan for funeral reform in 2017, and released guidelines with another 14 authorities on further reform in 2018.

“The funeral reforms help encourage fine and up-to-date practices and trends, and make contributions to land and ecological conservation,” said Ma Guanghai, sociology professor of Shandong University. “It is an important aspect of social progress.”

Source: Xinhua

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23/02/2019

Over 30 mln elderly people benefit from subsidies, allowances

BEIJING, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) — Subsidies and allowances have brought benefits to more than 30 million elderly people, with allowance systems for the elderly established in all provinces nationwide, according to a Ministry of Civil Affairs statement.

Currently, subsidy systems for elderly care services have been built in 30 provinces and nursing subsidy systems in 29 provinces, said the statement.

The ministry has made continuous efforts to improve the service quality of elderly care homes. Checks in 2018 found 163,000 safety hazards and other problems, and 90 percent of them have been solved, it read.

People now have more elderly care choices. As of the end of 2018, there were nearly 30,000 elderly care institutions with 7.5 million beds across the country, it added.

In the future, the ministry will continue optimizing services of elderly care homes, push forward elderly care services in downtown areas of big cities and initiate renovation and upgrading of elderly care homes in rural areas, especially those in poverty-stricken areas, it read.

Source: Xinhua

10/02/2019

More than 100 million Chinese register to volunteer

CHINA-100 MILLION VOLUNTEERS (CN)

Volunteers carry bamboos for sale in Chishui, southwest China’s Guizhou Province, July 14, 2018. More than 100 million Chinese have registered as volunteers by the end of 2018, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. There have been about 12,000 organizations of volunteer services registered by the end of 2018, which provided more than 1.2 billion hours of service in total, according to a ministry statement published earlier. Chinese have taken an increasingly active part in volunteering in recent years, particularly at major international events such as the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the G20 Hangzhou summit in 2016 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Qingdao summit in 2018. The country’s first regulation on volunteer services took effect in December 2017, clarifying the principles and establishing administrative institutions in this regard. With the number of volunteers growing fast, more efforts will be made to encourage their participation in public service and social governance, and improve the quality of their service, said a statement from the China Volunteer Service Federation. (Xinhua/Wang Changyu)

BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — More than 100 million Chinese have registered as volunteers by the end of 2018, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

There have been about 12,000 organizations of volunteer services registered by the end of 2018, which provided more than 1.2 billion hours of service in total, according to a ministry statement published earlier.

Chinese have taken an increasingly active part in volunteering in recent years, particularly at major international events such as the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the G20 Hangzhou summit in 2016 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Qingdao summit in 2018.

The country’s first regulation on volunteer services took effect in December 2017, clarifying the principles and establishing administrative institutions in this regard.

With the number of volunteers growing fast, more efforts will be made to encourage their participation in public service and social governance, and improve the quality of their service, said a statement from the China Volunteer Service Federation.

Source: Xinhua

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