Tibet authorities to invest $75 million in sky burial site protection

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016-3-9 20:48:01

Southwest China's plateau region of Tibet will spend 490 million yuan ($75 million) over the next five years on the repair and protection of sky burial sites, a traditional Tibetan funeral practice, local authorities said Wednesday.

Sky burial is a Tibetan and Mongolian tradition, whereby the dead are fed to predatory birds so that their souls may ascend to heaven.

A total 156 sky burial sites will receive funding. The government will invest 165 million yuan this year on 47 sites, mostly close to lamaseries. Each site will be assigned 3 million to 5 million yuan to finance repair and protection work, according to the regional civil affairs department.

Wild dogs, burial waste, bumpy roads and a lack of facilities are affecting the traditional practice, said Xu Jiali, deputy head of the regional civil affairs department who had visited 60 burial sites in the preliminary investigation.

The funding will cover the construction of roads, fences, reception rooms, mortuaries and furnaces, said Xu.

Cremation is the most common funeral practice in China. But according to Regulations on Funeral and Interment Control, cremation is not practiced in areas  inhabited with ethnic minorities who have their own funeral customs, which should be respected.

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