Social bias: Funeral workers in China shunned by public according to reports

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Social discrimination is still serious against undertakers in China who are poorly-paid and suffer heavy work pressure and psychological problems, according to a green book on the country’s funeral industry.

“Although undertakers’ social status has risen compared with the 1970s and 1980s, discrimination against them is still prevalent,” said the green book, jointly published by the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank, on Saturday.

It said a majority of funeral workers suffer excessive mental pressure due to influence from discrimination and the working environment as well as the lack of communication with others.

“Autism often occurs to them because of the mounting pressure that cannot be vented out effectively,” said the green book after investigating several funeral agencies.

It also said that most undertakers were unsatisfied with their income as they earned an annual average of less than 30,000 yuan (4,500 U.S. dollars), which was below the average income level of Chinese large cities.

Further, undertakers have to bear harsh working environment that is troubled by polluted air. Infectious viruses and cremation smog also caused harm to workers’ health, it said.

Therefore, the green book calls for improvement of undertakers’ living and working conditions and their salaries in order to enhance their social status and working initiative.

Efforts should also be made to help funeral workers alleviate mental pressures, it added