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Memorial Service on Cyber Space

8 April 2010
 

Each year in early spring, Chinese people customarily go to tidy the grave sites of and burn incenses to deceased family members who now either live in a yin realm, a parallel world characterized with a visual quality similar to negative film in contrast to this fully developed yet highly volatile reality, or have been reincarnated back to this domain or other spaces in human form or something else. Regardless where they are at the moment, many Chinese believe that the feelings and the opinions of the people in this world would have an impact on the current situation of the deceased in other worlds (or a new human life here), as all their past lives would do, thus the graveyards are conveniently served as the message boards for Chinese to leave feedbacks (all positive, of course) on the previous performance of their beloved.

If you've ever observed how anxious most sellers in online auction sites are when waiting for their buyers to leave a positive comment - especially at the time when their rating is so high that they are expecting to abstain a power-seller status or when their rating is so low that their account might be restricted or suspended - you should realise how important your annual feedbacks are to some of the deceased who are looking for an upgrade or trying to avoid a downgrade in their current circumstances.

But realistically, not everyone is available to physically sweep the tomb on the tomb sweeping day for one reason or other, hence the web sites providing virtual tomb sweeping services pop up in large quantities in China like bamboo shoots after a good spring rain.

The promoters of the sites like to parade their service as being eco-friendly, since the distance to a memorial hall just a click away so you don't need to drive your car and pollute the air, and since there is no carbon dioxide emitted when copying / pasting an animated image that looks like a burning incense which is the communication super highway channeling your thoughts between the worlds.

These are all true. And in fact, the promoters have underestimated the significance of their new service. It's not just going green or being virtual. It is a way of getting people connected and helping a nation being collective.

Take jibai.com, one of the major memorial service sites in Chinese language. Their young customers do not just log on to tidy the virtual graveyards of the deceased from their own families. They do more than that. And much more.

The following are the ones who have received most tributes during this festival on jibai.com and many other similar sites:

毛泽东:

Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China who reunited the nation.

孙中山:

Sun high, the leader of Xinhai Republic Revolution (辛亥革命) that drove away the parasite ruling group Manchus.

钱学森:

Qian Xuesen, the father of China’s space program.

雷锋:

Lei Feng, a 22-year old PLA soldier who lived a life of helping others.

刘胡兰:

Liu Hulan, a 16-year old heroine who died a heroic death for the sake of a better China.

智利地震遇难者:

The Chile earthquake victims.

 

On the tomb sweeping day, Chinese diplomats present flowers to the 134 national heroes who fell on the battle field during the Korean War and rested eternally in a foreign land far away from their home, which include Mao Anying (毛岸英), China’s late leader Mao Zedong’s son who was died in a U.S. air strike; Huang Jiguang (黄继光), who blocked China's enemy South Korean troops' machine-gun with his own body; Qiu Shaoyun (邱少云) who grinded his teeth to keep silent when burning alive by an U.S. bomb, and Luo Shengjiao (罗盛教) who gave away his own life for saving a North Korean child.

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RELATED:

A scene during the Tomb Sweeping Festival this long weekend in the old town of Kaifeng, the capital city of the Song Dynasty. The locals and tourists intend to revive the old streetscape illustrated in the masterpiece Tomb Sweeping Festival Scroll.

April 5 is the traditional tomb sweeping festival (清明?) in China which has been reinstated as public holiday since 2008.

A man in traditional Chinese custom (汉服) with wheels on his heels glides down the streets in Kaifeng during the festival.

On the day of Tomb Sweeping Festival, Magistrate Bao (包公), an incorruptible Chinese high official in Song Dynasty, and his lieutenants, would issue fire bans (颁布新火) to the citizens in Kaifeng as a way to help them driving away undesirable forces.

(Source of info: 李肖肖、宋晓珊; photos: 文杨、东华 - 河南商报)


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