Saturday, December 19, 2009

Waking the dead for Disneyland

This one is for those of you who live in the more privileged part of the world such as the US or the UK or France or other developed European nations. How would you react to the idea of digging up your family graves in order to make way for a Disneyland? And getting paid $60 per grave you dig up to move the remains of your deceased family member to some other place? No, you will not be given a choice of staying put. There will be a deadline by which you must move the dead to a new abode- heavenly or not. If you don't, you are a dead duck. You lose $60. And may lose the last remains of your beloved as the government clears the grave.

Well, this is exactly what is happening in China. Chinese authorities want to move 1200 tombs from a cemetery in Shanghai which is part of the site where China's first Disneyland is to be built. The government wants the cemetery cleaned up before the construction begins. The local municipal authorities are offering $60 compensation for relocating each tomb elsewhere.

The family members are not happy. There dead may already be turning in their graves. After all, the Chinese don't like to disturb their sleeping ancestors. I don't know who does. The Chinese belief is that if you don't ensure your ancestors are resting in peace, their ghosts will bring misfortune on the generations to come.

The question is: how is Disney viewing the issue? Do they think this is a grave matter?

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