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Chinese students impressed by Taiwan's funeral services

2012/09/18 21:11:28

Taipei, Sept. 18 (CNA) A group of Chinese students in Taiwan on an exchange program said Tuesday that Taiwan's funeral industry is impressive as it offers humanitarian services that show a high degree of respect for the dead.

Some nine students from the Funeral Department of the Changsha Social Work College in China's Hunan Province visited funeral facilities and institutions around Taiwan as part of a 30-day program organized by the Jen-Teh Junior College of Medicine, Nursing and Management in northern Taiwan's Miaoli County.

Compared with China, which has undergone remarkably fast development in the industry, Taiwan offers high quality and humanitarian funeral services, said Wang Zhiguo, the founder of the department and the leader of the group.

Although funeral halls in China are built like five-star hotels, a lot of improvements are still required in terms of services offered, he said.

Taiwan and China could work together to promote the industry through mutual learning as the two sides share such similar cultural traits, Wang went on.

Taiwan's funeral industry is flexible and dedicated to meet all the demands of family members, one student noted.

For example, the student said he was surprised by the way the funeral staff handle the dead, including the process of cleansing and the adoption of "tree burials," which allows people of different religions to have their remains returned to nature.

Chiu Ta-neng, director of the Department of Funeral Science at the Taiwanese college, encouraged students to enter the funeral market in China in the future as the number of deaths there reaches around 9 million every year, while only around 150,000 deaths are recorded in Taiwan per year.

Huang Po-hsian, president of Jen-Teh, said the exchange program could bring positive results for the development of the industry, as the Changsha college was the first school to specialize in funeral services in China, while his college is the only school in Taiwan offering courses on the subject to prepare its students for a career in the field. (Kuan Jui-pin and Maia Huang)