BEIJING, March 27 (UPI) -- Chinese officials say people are turning to online memorial services to avoid a waste of social and natural resources.
The discussion is increasing ahead of the Qingming Festival that falls on April 5 this year, when people will offer sacrifices to the ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased, the official news agency Xinhua reported.
Usually, cremated remains are not kept for online funerals, Xinhua said; instead, a portrait of the dead and pictures of the farewell party and poetry are put online for relatives and friends to commemorate. The Internet also has a virtual cemetery.
Zhu Yong, deputy director of a research institute under the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said the green concept of interment was popular in countries like Australia and New Zealand, where some online gravestones were simply of name card size.
That kind of funeral suits China, he said, because of its "sparse land and huge population," he said, Xinhua reported
The Xinhua report did not say what happened to actual remains after an online funeral.