Hong Kong In Space Crisis: Where To Put The Dead?

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5:02 pm 2 Mar, 2016

Millions of people are surviving in only 30 square miles, making Hong Kong the most dense population center in the world. And if the living space is an issue, it is also an issue for the dead.

These are the graves covering a hillside.

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The dead in Hong Kong cannot rest in peace. Demand for the scarce land is increasing every day.

Earlier in the 60s, when people faced similar issues, the government encouraged cremation over traditional burials. Cremation has increased to 90% in the last 50 years. People burn valuables, money, etc. as offering after praying over the dead bodies of their loved ones (As shown in the image below).

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Columbaria (depositories of the dead’s ashes) are running out of room. This is making people opt for spreading ashes in public parks and the seaside.

Mong Kok is one of the most crowded districts in Hong Kong.

In this Nov. 27, 2015 photo, pedestrians cross a street in Mong Kok, one of the most crowded districts in Hong Kong. In tightly-packed Hong Kong, the dead are causing a problem for the living. Limited land to build on and soaring property prices mean Hong Kong is fast running out of space to store the dead. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

 

People of Hong Kong have the custom of visiting their ancestors on special days with offerings and gifts.

This is a public columbarium in Hong Kong.

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They visit their ancestral burial sites on holidays along with other family members.

This is Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, a Hong Kong temple deemed by the government for violating planning and land-use regulations. This is also a tourist attraction which has more that 120 columbariums.

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As space for dead is running out, private and public sector are both providing solutions for families to pay their respects.

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A memorial website has been set up by the government for families to leave virtual offerings for their loved ones.

A building in Hong Kong showing the space crises.

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Another method is to turn the remains of loved ones into gemstones that families can keep at home or even wear as jewelry. This is performed in a laboratory through intense heat.


Some crystallized beads created from cremated ashes being displayed by Betsy Ma, sales director at Sage Funeral Services. These beads can be used to make memorial gems.

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A bus passing by a cemetery in the Kowloon City district of Hong Kong.

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A portrait fading away on a grave stone at a cemetery in the Kowloon City district of Hong Kong.

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Graves located near apartment buildings at a cemetery in Kowloon City.

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Incense sticks burning for dead ancestors at a private columbarium in Hong Kong.

In this Oct. 20, 2015 photo, incense sticks are burnt to dead ancestors with a wall of niches for cremated remains in the background at a private columbarium in Hong Kong. In tightly-packed Hong Kong, the dead are causing a problem for the living. Limited land to build on and soaring property prices mean Hong Kong is fast running out of space to store the dead. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

 

A photograph of graves near some apartments.

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A funeral store owner Cheng Chi-kit holding incense sticks at a funeral parlor in Hong Kong.

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A football pitch and apartment buildings near a hillside covered by graves in Kowloon City.

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Densely populated Honk Kong.

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Credit: Big Story
 

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