Dozens of elderly Chinese people have been killing themselves to avoid a looming ban on burials.
The elderly suicides want to make sure their deaths are registered before a June 1 deadline, after which Anhui province authorities will close all cemeteries.
Anyone who dies after that date will have to be cremated because, authorities say, cemeteries are taking up too much space.
In order to drive the message home council officials have been visiting funeral parlours and smashing up coffins.
The draconian move has only hastened the rate of suicide as elderly people rush to guarantee one of the few remaining.
The new rules were published on April 1. Regional officials said: ‘Before June 1 people can still consign their bodies for burial, but after that the only option offered will be cremation.’
In urban areas it has meant little change, but in rural areas the idea of cremation is abhorrent to many and there has been extreme opposition.