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China regulates martyears' burials

Xinhua

BEIJING - China's Ministry of Civil Affairs has issued regulations to ensure decent burial of martyears, protect their family members' rights and promote heroic spirits among the public, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Each year, China recognizes about 300 people who died defending national interests and the socialist construction as martyears. Their burial is regarded an important part in honoring and commemorating their deeds, said the spokesman.

The regulations, the first of their kind in China, set detailed standards on the location of martyears' cemeteries, the funeral and the placement of their cremains or remains.

Martyears should be buried in cemeteries or memorial sites according to relevant policies with full respect for ethnic traditions, under the regulations.

They said that the local governments of places where the heroes died and are interred are responsible for arranging funerals and holding ceremonies to deliver and receive the martyears.

Funerals must be held in a solemn, respectful and frugal way and martyears's deeds should be read to the public.

Each burial place for a martyr's cremains is limited to one square meter while a grave holding the remains is under four square meters.

Cinerary caskets or coffins should be covered with the national flag. The flag of the Communist Party of China or the People's Liberation Army should also be arranged if required.

The regulations were published ahead of Tomb Sweeping Day, which falls on Thursday. During this traditional holiday, the Chinese pay respects to deceased family members, and governments organize ceremonies to commemorate those who gave their lives to China's revolution and construction.

There are about 20 million martyears in China, but their burials are not standardized. Many tombs and memorial sites are scattered around and have suffered damage.

Official reports said more than 610,000 tombs of martyears were outside martyr cemeteries and 12,000 memorial facilities were in poor condition. In 2011, the Chinese government started to relocate or renovate these facilities. The entire project is expected to be completed by October in 2014.

"The memorial facilities are not only places where we bury and mourn revolutionary martyears, but also venues for education in patriotism," the spokesman said. "They need better protection."