Two officials in China have been arrested for allegedly buying corpses in order to meet their state-mandated cremation targets. They reportedly bought several bodies from a grave robber and are believed to have paid between £150 and £300 per corpse.

“Body-snatching is, therefore, a lucrative, illicit business, involving bribe-taking local officials who look the other way,” the Washington Post reports.

Identified only as He and Dong, the two men were in charge of implementing Beijing’s funeral management reform. The cremation quotas were introduced in order to discourage burials and preserve land for farming and development.

But the rules have been met with widespread resistance in a country where ancestral worship at grave sites is seen as an important tradition, AFP reports.  It is also a commonly held belief that the body must be intact in order to achieve a peaceful afterlife.
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