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Illegally apartment-style tombs suspend operations in Tianjin
Published on: 2020-09-03
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tombA public cemetery built in the form of residential buildings located in Tianjin was ordered to suspend its operations after it illegally sold some 3,000 apartment-style tombs to house nearly 100,000 urns at an average price of 7,000 yuan per square meter.

The "apartment-style" public cemetery, which cost the developer 300 million yuan to renovate, is ineligible for further sale, according to Tianjin's land and housing regulations. The cemetery changed its sales contract into a long-term rent of 50 years to dodge regulations.

A staffer surnamed Wang from the publicity department of Zhongtang town government, where the cemetery is located, said that an investigation team has been established to investigate the incident and all operations of the cemetery have been suspended.

Consisting of 16 buildings, the cemetery compound is located in Zhongtang town of Binhai New Area. Although it appears to look like a common residential compound from the outside, the windows of the cemetery apartments are blacked-out.

There are about 25 apartments — or tombs — on each floor of the compound's five-story buildings, with the areas of apartments ranging from 20 to 50 square meters.

tomb 02Signboards with family names and red paper flowers were seen hanging on the doors of each apartment, while the compound's tombs were almost sold out, according to a staffer of the cemetery.

While the tombs in the basement are the highest-priced because they are close to earth, those near the top are available at a much cheaper rate. According to Chinese superstition and traditional burial customs, only if deceased people are buried in the earth to rest can their family members feel at ease.

As Tianjin carries out its funeral reform, more and more locals choose to buy apartments as their "family ancestral temples" to store the ashes of their deceased family members, rather than placing them alongside others' urns.

Although the building-style ancestral temples did not see many sales six years ago when the cemetery was first opened, its price has since risen from 3,000 yuan to 7,000 yuan per square meter.

At present, over 3,000 families have placed near 100,000 urns at the cemetery.

天津一小区住十万个骨灰盒

天津市滨海新区中塘镇,一处公益性骨灰堂被改建成住宅式,并违规出售。记者实地暗访发现,该建筑群分为两期,共16栋楼房,楼房外形与普通居民小区无异,但窗户都是黑色的。进入楼房内部,记者发现每层大约有25户房,面积20平到50平不等,每家每户门口都悬挂着“X氏祠堂”的牌匾和大红花。工作人员称该小区楼房目前接近售罄,因为更接“地气”,地下室最贵、阁楼价格最便宜。

开发商将这处骨灰堂花费3亿被改建成住宅式,占地面积超过5公顷,规模号称“华北地区第一家”。尽管销售人员介绍“手续齐全”,但根据天津市国土和房管局公开的文件,此处墓地在性质上属于公益性骨灰堂,并无买卖资格。为了规避公益性墓地无法经营的管理条例,此陵园将墓地合同条款从售卖改为长期租赁。

随着天津市殡葬改革的推行,越来越多的人选择在陵园单独买一处房间来做自家祠堂,而不是将自家骨灰盒与其他家骨灰盒混放在公益性祠堂。这家以“楼房式祠堂”为招牌的骨灰堂一期开售时一度遇冷,但6年间价格一路疯涨,均价从3千一平涨到7千一平。工作人员介绍,目前小区已“入住”3千多家族,骨灰盒接近十万个。

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