China to blast tombstones if not painted green

July 23rd, 2010 - 12:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 23 (IANS) The Chinese government has threatened to blast tombstones on mountains unless they are painted green, because the white-coloured memorials on the green hills looked “ugly”.
A 19-km highway in Yiliang county in southwestern Yunnan province is surrounded by mountains on both sides. The mountains are dotted with white-coloured tombstones marking the graves of the ancestors of the resident.

Local officials said the white markers were desecrating the mountain, and therefore ordered people to paint their deceased relatives’ tombstones green, “so the mountains could have a more unified colour”, China Daily reported.

Government officials were making announcements on loudspeakers that every household should paint their ancestors’ tombs green, or cover the white gravestones with a green cloth. Those tombstones that stayed white would be blown up with explosives, a report in Kunming-based Chuncheng Evening News said.

Staff in district offices said “higher-level officials” ordered them to urge the villagers to do that, because “the white spots on the green mountain were ugly”.

Villagers were not very pleased with the government decision.

“Green tombstones are the weirdest things I’ve ever heard of,” a 60-year-old man said. “The gravestones are meant to allow later generations to pay respect. Why do they have to be green?”

But he finally painted his father’s tombstone green, because he “did not want it blasted”. The green paint “blurred the writings on the monument”, he said.

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