3 Month Wait for Ashes at Shanghai Funeral Homes

By Jenny Li
Jenny Li
Jenny Li
Jenny Li has contributed to The Epoch Times since 2010. She has reported on Chinese politics, economics, human rights issues, and U.S.-China relations. She has extensively interviewed Chinese scholars, economists, lawyers, and rights activists in China and overseas.
and Olivia Li
Olivia Li
Olivia Li
Olivia Li is a contributor to The Epoch Times with a focus on China-related topics since 2012.
February 8, 2023Updated: February 26, 2023

China’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) claimed on Feb. 4 that in the week before, there were 3,278 COVID-19 deaths in Chinese hospitals nationwide. However, information obtained from Shanghai’s funeral homes suggests that the Chinese authorities have heavily falsified the death figures.

In Shanghai alone, at least 2,640 remains are cremated every day at the 15 funeral homes in the city, according to an undercover investigation and analysis by The Epoch Times.

1 to 3 Months Wait Time for Ashes

An employee at Yishan Funeral Home, the largest funeral home in Shanghai, told The Epoch Times on Feb. 4 that the family of the deceased needs to wait one to three months to receive the ashes after the corpse is delivered to the funeral home.

“The ashes are ready for them in three months … At the very least, it will take a month,” he said.

When contacting two other funeral homes on Feb. 4, Shanghai’s Pudong Funeral Home told The Epoch Times that if the remains were delivered on Feb. 4, the cremation would be scheduled three days later on Feb. 7, while Baoshan Funeral Home said the wait time was five days. The employee at Baoshan Funeral Home also revealed that the facility is currently cremating “around 280 to 300 bodies” every day, and the furnaces operate continuously 24 hours a day.

According to Lijia Etiquette Service, a website that provides information about funeral services in Shanghai, Yishan Funeral Home has six memorial halls and 22 cremation furnaces, with an annual cremation capacity of 50,000. Baoshan Funeral Home has eight memorial halls and nine oil-fired cremators. In 2012, more than 18,000 corpses were cremated at Baoshan Funeral Home.

Furnaces Operate Around the Clock

Based on the calculation of cremating 300 remains per day at Baoshan Funeral Home, which has nine cremation furnaces, each furnace is currently cremating 33 remains every day. As they are said to be cremating “continuously 24 hours a day,” the maximum daily capacity of the cremation furnace is around 33 remains.

Several funeral homes indicated that cross-district cremation is allowed, but it needs to be coordinated by the municipal government. As there is a large backlog of remains and there is cross-district coordination between funeral homes, it can be speculated that all funeral homes in Shanghai are using their maximum processing capacity.

There are a total of 15 funeral homes in Shanghai. Public online information provided capacities for ten of these 15 funeral homes, which altogether had 80 cremation furnaces.

These 80 furnaces would process 2,640 remains every day, based on the capacity of 33 remains per furnace per day. The long wait time is a proof of a large backlog of remains, indicating that the current daily death toll in Shanghai is much more than 2,640 deaths.

Excess Deaths

According to information obtained by the CEIC data company from China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, Shanghai cremated 127,798 remains in 2015, an average of about 350 remains per day.

This means that the number of daily deaths in Shanghai is now at least 7.5 times that of a regular year.

If all excess deaths, which accounted for 86.7 percent of total deaths, are related to COVID-19, the current daily number of COVID-19 deaths in Shanghai is at least 2,289.

China’s CDC claimed that the number of COVID-19 deaths in Chinese hospitals in the week between Jan. 27 and Feb. 2 was only 3,278, averaging 468 deaths per day. The figure is only one-fifth of the death toll in Shanghai alone, which has been scrutinized as being falsified.

Model Prediction

Airfinity, a health analytics firm based in London, estimated that infection cases in China likely peaked at 4.8 million on Jan. 13, and projected 62 million infections in the two-week period Jan. 13-27. The death toll was expected to peak at 36,000 a day during Chinese New Year on Jan. 26, according to Airfinity’s model.

Its COVID-19 death forecast curve estimated that the number of COVID-19 deaths in China was approximately 36,000 on Jan. 27 and roughly 32,000 on Feb. 2. The average daily death toll over that time period was 34,000. This amounts to 73 times the CCP’s official death toll.