Sunday, 9 December 2007

The dead get short changed due to high fuel costs

It is rare to find a story that combines the high price of fuel and the dead.

It just goes to show, when price increases really begin to bite it is those groups in society without a voice that suffer first. These usually include animals and the poor. We now add to that list "the dead".

The question is whether the half burnt body dumping was a direct result of the increase in fuel costs or merely poor management and poor "quality control". Perhaps this is merely a result of cutting one corner to many.

The old adage "dead men don't talk" is only partially true in this case.

China cremator dumps half-burnt bodies to save fuel [Reuters]
HONG KONG, Dec 7 (Reuters) - China's worst fuel crunch in years has led a crematorium to dump half-burnt corpses to try to save on diesel costs, a Hong Kong newspaper said on Friday.

Villagers in Hengyang county, in the southern province of Hunan, discovered the practice when an "unbearable stench" started coming from the site, and tried to block a road on Wednesday to stop funeral vehicles from delivering more bodies.

The village sent people to investigate the smell and the South China Morning Post said they saw "crematorium workers putting half-burnt human remains and organs in plastic bags and throwing them into a nearby ditch".

"As the price of diesel rose, we saw more and more bags thrown out from the crematorium," the paper quoted Xiao Gaoyi, a village representative and one of the witnesses, as saying.

China was hit by its worst fuel supply crisis in four years from October to November, as a widening gap between low, state-regulated domestic prices and market-driven international prices forced Chinese refiners to cut output.

Fuel in many parts of the country was rationed and there were long queues at petrol stations.

An increase of nearly 10 percent in the prices of domestic diesel and gasoline from Nov. 1, the first in almost a year and a half, failed to lift refining margins back into the black. (Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)


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