A bookkeeping official in Dongfushan village, Guandong province allegedly razed 24 mou (亩) of land – roughly 4 acres – to provide himself and his family with a large “luxurious and imposing” cemetery plot according to a Guangzhou Daily article from last week.
The luxury plot’s main mausoleum is a three-story brick mansion, covered in carved white marble. Talk about going all out for 清明节 (qingming jie)!
As if using valuable and arable farm land as an ostentatiously large way to honor the dead wasn’t bad enough, it turns out the parents of the official are still alive!
The official blubbered his way through an explanation with the Guangzhou Daily, first denying that the grave were connected to his (once again, still alive) parents, and then connecting the plot to his blood relatives, before finally admitting that he wasn’t entirely sure what he was doing here.
The reaction, both from netizens (who’s comments on Netease numbered into the thousands) and from the Guangdong provincial government, has been swift and harsh. Today, the government reported that the offending official has been ousted from his post.
On the morning of the seventh, workers were already refurbishing the soil of the 24 mou to allow for reforestation. The county’s forest service has allocated 7,300 seedlings to reseed the areas destroyed to make flat graves. According to the reporters, reforestation efforts continued into the night.
What a great resolution! We’re all for filial piety and definitely respect the Confucian traditions that provide such strong family ties, but at some point doesn’t your role as a government official and your responsibility to your citizens – and the environment – take precedent?