Partially cremated bodies left on road amid China’s soaring COVID outbreak trigger alarms

Piles of charred remains, both ashes and bones, lay by the roadside near a Chinese funeral home with black smoke.

They were found next to the Henan Zhumadian Funeral Home in central China.

“Look at these bones. They haven’t been completely roasted yet. There are also some vertebrae,” observed a man filming a video that circulated on Chinese social media. Speaking in local dialect, he lowered the camera to take a closer look at the mountain before turning around to reveal a large gray compound that was a funeral home.

The video, which does not reveal the identity of the deceased, was filmed at a sensitive time as COVID-19 engulfed China, flooding both the country’s fragile healthcare system and crematoriums. , has been criticized for refusing to provide accurate infection and death tolls.

Henan province, where the video appeared, has been particularly hard hit. Officials said on January 9 that about 89% of the local population, or about 88 million people, had contracted the virus.

Relatives carry the ashes of a cremated loved one at the Sipsong Panna Zhou Funeral Home in Jinghong city, Xishuangbanna Autonomous Prefecture, in southern China’s Yunnan province, January 10, 2023. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

The situation is not seen elsewhere in the country. Zhang Wenhong, a well-known Chinese doctor and head of the infectious disease department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s Shanghai Huashan Hospital, has previously said that with the arrival of the Chinese New Year, the infection rate nationwide will reach 80%. I was guessing. World’s largest human migration for family reunions.

It is unclear whether the bones belonged to a person or people who died of COVID, and why they were disposed of on the street. It seemed poised and hung up as soon as I was asked about the video. The facility was running at a full schedule until Jan. 8, workers said.

According to Chinese media, the city’s civil affairs bureau confirmed to the video that it was “aware of the issue and is addressing it.” And a nearby funeral home told the Epoch Times without directly commenting on the video that such a thing would not happen at their facility.

Shanghai Funeral Home, Xi Says China Is in New Phase of Coronavirus War
Mourners gather outside a memorial for the deceased at a funeral home in Shanghai, China, December 31, 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

COVID Toll Questions

The administration continues to defend its response to the pandemic, even as countries and analysts cast doubt on its data.

“We believe that the current figures released from China underestimate the true impact of the disease in terms of hospitalizations, ICU admissions and especially deaths,” said the World Health Organization (WHO). said Mike Ryan, Director of Emergencies. , told reporters at a Jan. 4 media briefing, adding that Beijing’s definition of COVID death is “very narrow.”

China’s COVID death criteria only allow deaths with pneumonia or respiratory failure caused by COVID-19. Or contributed to death. ”

According to official data, China maintains the lowest death toll in the world. But the administration’s consistent downplay of virus numbers over the course of the pandemic, waves of celebrity and celebrity deaths over the past few weeks, and crematorium strife nonetheless show the death toll to be very high. I’m here.

Baoxing Funeral Home in Shanghai
People wait for the funeral of their deceased relatives at the Baoxing Funeral Parlor in Shanghai, China, January 4, 2023. (Wang Gang/VCG via Getty Images)

A former official in Xi’an, a city in central China, told the Epoch Times that several crematoria were overwhelmed in his area, sending bodies to nearby facilities.

A woman in Anshan, an industrial city in northeastern China’s Liaoning province, recently heard that several friends had lost their fathers. . His family was told there was a line of more than 1,200 people in front of them waiting to be cremated. bottom.

The woman, who gave only her last name for fear of reprisal, said the administration had issued an order prohibiting hospitals from attributing deaths to COVID to “prevent the outside world from knowing the true death toll.” I’m guessing.

“Doctors definitely can’t write COVID-19 pneumonia,” Sun told the Epoch Times. “How many deaths have authorities reported? Very few. I can understand it.

Hong Ning contributed to this report.

Eva Who
Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times, focusing on US politics, US-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Please contact Eva at [email protected]