Elaborate private funeral rites, which can last days with chanting monks, dancing strippers, and wailing mourners, are now banned in parts of Wenzhou, a southeastern coastal city of nine million.
Starting this week, wakes must be state-sanctioned. Families can choose from luxury, mid-range or discount government funeral packages. Even the number of floral wreaths in each mourning hall are now capped at five, and a new 24-hour funeral consulting service has launched for help on all things death-related, such as body transport and storage.
The Chinese government has long waged war on extravagant funerals, but it is tough in a place that takes the dead and dying very seriously – improper burial rites are thought to bring bad luck to the living.