The Handling of the Deceased During the COVID-19 Pandemic in China
This talk seeks to answer a range of questions about the ways in which Chinese society has dealt with victims of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemiс. The number of funerary urns in Wuhan in January-February 2020 was seen as an indicator of the scale of the epidemiс, but how were they produced and disseminated? How did quarantine measures affect funerary practice? How did public health agencies organize the work of funeral service professionals? Has the share of burials vs cremation changed? When families were unable to bid farewell to their loved ones, did they experience this as a break with previous funerary practices? Is the government erecting monuments to the Covid-19 dead the way it did for victims of the SARS epidemic in 2003? And can past changes in funerary practices, for example during the Taiping Rebellion or the Cultural Revolution, teach us anything about the most recent crisis? Has the treatment of the dead resembled the way they were handled during previous epidemics, or has it been more reminiscent of times of war?