CHINA China sees a rise in pre-plan funeral arrangements

CHINA

China sees a rise in pre-plan funeral arrangements

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21:55, December 16, 2022

Pre-plan funeral arrangement contracts are gaining an increasing acceptance in China with more people thinking about planning the last chapter of their lives.

A total of 7,834 contracts were signed in the first half of this year, posing a record and a growth of 17 percent from the same period last year, Fu Shou Yuan International Group, the largest cemetery and funeral service provider in China, revealed on Friday, before dongzhi, or Winter Solstice.

The service, which is mature in many overseas countries such as the United States and Japan, allows people to decide their own funeral arrangements, which are protected via contracts.

Once those signing the contracts die, service providers arrange funerals based on their wills with the deciders changed from relatives of the deceased to the perished themselves.

The personalized service can also involve hospice care, memorial services and death education.

"The estimated increase of the perished based on population circles for the next 10 years and the change of people's attitudes on death are the major reasons," said Xing Weidong, who is in charge of the pre-plan service of the cemetery and funeral service provider.

"Those signing the contracts intend to seek a proper arrangement in the last chapter of their lives and avoid hurry and disputes of their families when the time comes," said Xing. "In China, the service is still in the initial stage, but is developing rapidly."

"The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people's mind to some extent and made their attitudes more open when they talk about death, which is no longer a taboo topic in China," he added.

Fu Shou Yuan introduced the service in 2015 and has expanded it to nearly 40 cities across the nation so far.

Last year, the group received close to 14,000 contracts for pre-plan funeral arrangements, compared with less than 6,000 a year earlier and fewer than 5,000 in 2019.

"There are more signers of the service in big cities like Shanghai compared with small ones," said Xing. "There is a younger tendency of signers as well, but we try to persuade them to be cautious and be positive on life."

The funeral service provider has teamed up with JD.com and put the service on the e-commerce platform for the first time to satisfy surging demand.

Winter Solstice, like Qingming Festival, is a time when Chinese people pay respects to their ancestors. It falls on December 22 this year.

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