Scholars want Henan to end destruction of mlns of graves

By Guo Kai Source:Global Times Published: 2012-11-9 1:15:08

Twenty-six scholars across the country called on local governments on Thursday to stop destroying tombs, after media reports showed that a tomb destruction campaign has been-carried out across Henan Province this year.

In an open letter published on the Internet, the scholars believe the tomb removal in Henan has infringed on peoples' freedom to worship, devastated Chinese culture and hurt the public's feelings.

"The campaign should be stopped as soon as possible and the local government should properly deal with the aftermath," the appeal said.

The Xinhua News Agency released a report Saturday on the tomb removal campaign in Henan Province, saying the city of Zhoukou, Henan Province, pushed forward the campaign to remove more than 2 million tombs this year and regain about 30,000 mu (about 2,000 hectares).

Follow-up reports also said that some authorities threatened to dismiss some civic employees who balked at pushing forward the campaign. The campaign aroused Chinese Web users' attention, and a majority of them are against the campaign.

Yao Zhongqiu, a professor from Beihang University who initiated the appeal, told the Global Times that he regretted he did not speak out early to try and prevent local governments from destroying millions of tombs."We hope local governments will reconsider the policy of tomb-removal in rural areas. The tombs are symbols for Chinese respect for their ancestors," Yao said.

Wang Xiaoyu, a culture Professor from Tongji University, also told the Global Times that the tomb destruction campaign violates Chinese tradition. "If most people are not happy with a regulation, it shows there is something wrong with it."

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