Exchange students praise Taiwanese funereal services

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Sep 20, 2012 - Page 5

A group of Chinese students in Taiwan on an exchange program said Taiwan’s funeral industry is impressive, as it offers services that show a high degree of respect for the dead.

About nine students from the Funeral Department of the Changsha Social Work College in Hunan Province on Tuesday visited funeral facilities and institutions as part of a 30-day program organized by the Jen-Teh Junior College of Medicine, Nursing and Management in Miaoli County.

China’s funeral industry has undergone a remarkably fast development, but Taiwan offers high quality and humanitarian funeral services, said Wang Zhiguo (王治國), the founder of the department and leader of the group.

Although funeral halls in China are built like five-star hotels, much improvement could still be made in terms of services offered, he said. Taiwan and China should work together to promote the industry through mutual learning as the two countries share many similar cultural traits, Wang added.

Taiwan’s funeral industry is flexible and dedicated to meeting the needs of family members, one student said. The student cited as an example the way in which Taiwanese funeral homes handle the dead, including the process of cleansing and how they offer “tree burials,” which allow people to have their remains returned to nature.

Chiu Ta-neng (邱達能), director of the Department of Funeral Science at Jen-Teh, encouraged students to enter the funeral market in China as there are about 9 million deaths there every year, while only about 150,000 deaths are recorded in Taiwan per year.

Huang Po-hsian (黃柏翔), president of Jen-Teh, said the exchange program could help develop the industry, since the Changsha college was the first school to specialize in funeral services in China, while his college is the only school in Taiwan that offers courses on the subject.