March 4, 2011, Xinhe Town, Wenling City, Zhejiang province, a luxurious funeral procession of 9 Lincoln limos, a thousand-people band and a 16-gun salute stirred up the whole town. It was a funeral of a local entrepreneur’s mom held at the large sports field of New River Middle School.
The multi-million dollar funeral took place on March, 4th, 2011. Soon pictures of the luxurious funeral went viral online. People responded by questioning whether filial piety can be reflected through a lux funeral and what the incident would possibly teach those students studying at the school, where the funeral was held.
Upon hearing the news, local government and relevant departments soon took action to stop the funeral and disperse the masses. It was reported that a vice president of New River Middle School had been suspended for the matter.
New River Middle School is one of the key local secondary schools. 4 a.m. in the morning, the campus was already filled with crowds and funeral music. In the school’s playground, 9 Lincoln limos decorated with paper banners held in line, 16 mighty gun salutes were ready to fire, thousands of wreaths stood along the long black carpet with a huge portrait of the dead in the end, alongside with two huge LCD screens showing the dead’s life story. And that is not all, there is thousand-people band playing funeral music and hundreds of monks singing prayers, as well as big balloons with the word “libation”(奠)slowly swinging in the sky.
The School playground, nearby bridges and roads were all packed with people. Among the crowd, a young with a walkie-talkie had 3 words on his armbands: “Chief Funeral Director”. Doesn’t it look like a Hollywood movie scene?
It was a Friday and classes went on as usual at the school. A classroom building was right across the street of where the funeral was staged. Instructor had to raise their voices. The excitement of the crowd outside the window and the loud music drove many students into limbo. All physical education classes were canceled, students were told not to go to the playground.
The funeral was for an 82 years-old mother of 6 children, all of whom are well-off businessmen. According to insiders, these 6 children had a multi-million budget for the funeral.
According to rough statistics, at least 10 thousand people attended the funeral including family, friends, guests, staff and crowd. To make sure there was nothing standing in the way of the funeral, the organizers “bought out” small street vendors along limo routes two days in prior to the funeral day. Street vendors were given 500 yuan per stall and asked to stay clear of the street on the day of the funeral. According to an eyewitness, many people who attended the funeral didn’t even know the dead. They were drawn over because they would be given a cash thank-you gift of a few hundred yuan, plus 2 packs of Zhonghua cigarettes, as long as they held candles.