As authorities lifted a two-month coronavirus lockdown in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, residents said they were growing increasingly skeptical that the figure of some 2,500 deaths in the city to date was accurate.
Since the start of the week, seven large funeral homes in Wuhan have been handing out the cremated remains of around 500 people to their families every day, suggesting that far more people died than ever made the official statistics.
“It can’t be right … because the incinerators have been working round the clock, so how can so few people have died?” an Wuhan resident surnamed Zhang told RFA on Friday.
“They started distributing ashes and starting interment ceremonies on
Monday,” he said.
Seven funeral homes currently serve Wuhan — a huge conurbation of three cities: Hankou, Wuchang and Hanyang.
Social media users have been doing some basic math to figure out their daily capacity, while the news website Caixin.com reported that 5,000 urns had been delivered by a supplier to the Hankou Funeral Home in one day alone — double the official number of deaths.
Some social media posts have estimated that all seven funeral homes in Wuhan are handing out 3,500 urns every day in total.
Funeral homes have informed families that they will try to complete cremations before the traditional grave-tending festival of Qing Ming on April 5, which would indicate a 12-day process beginning on March 23.
Such an estimate would mean that 42,000 urns would be given out during that time.
Read more at Radio Free Asia