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Scythe and the CityA Social History of Death in Shanghai$
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Christian Henriot

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804797467

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804797467.001.0001

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The Cremated Body: From Social Curse to Political Rule

The Cremated Body: From Social Curse to Political Rule

(p.309) 8 The Cremated Body: From Social Curse to Political Rule
Scythe and the City

Christian Henriot

Stanford University Press

Earth burial was the fundamental way of disposing of the dead. Yet other forms emerged, for example, cremation. This chapter is devoted to the introduction of cremation in Shanghai and its slow diffusion until the war made it a compulsory measure to dispose of the unclaimed bodies of the poor. The image of cremation as a curse goes a long way to explain the strong resistance of the population and the cautious approach the authorities took, even after 1950, in promoting it. Yet, by the Cultural Revolution, this had become a standard practice.

Keywords:   cremation, funeral, body, municipal, government

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