Workers at a funeral home steal a woman’s ashes in order to perform the banned ‘Ghost Marriage’ ritual.

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Workers at a funeral home steal a woman’s ashes in order to perform the banned ‘Ghost Marriage’ ritual.

Three funeral home employees in China are accused of attempting to kidnap the remains of a deceased woman in order to perform the forbidden “ghost marriage” practice. Their objective was to sell the stolen ashes to a family in the neighborhood.

According to the South China Morning Post, the strange episode occurred in the Shandong region in Eastern China.

The ashes belonged to a well-known social media figure who committed suicide in October during a live feed.

After the ashes were cremated, one of the staff, Shao, switched them, while another, Leo, took them out of the funeral home. According to the article, the third accused, surnamed Zhang, reached an arrangement with the buyer, citing local news outlet The Beijing News.

In many parts of China, the “ghost marriage” rite is a superstitious practice. It’s a marriage in which one or both of the parties have passed away. A spouse — generally a dead woman — is found for a deceased guy by his family. Her ashes are then buried alongside the man’s, as it is believed that a lonely grave would harm the family’s prosperity.

According to reports, the three funeral home employees planned to sell the ashes for 50,000-70,000 Chinese yuan ($7,800 to $11,000). Zhang’s wife, on the other hand, informed investigators that the buyer, who was not identified, did not “consent to the marriage.” According to sources, the deceased woman, known by her screen name Luoxiaomaomaozi, killed herself in October by drinking a bottle of pesticide while live streaming on the Chinese video-sharing app Douyin. Despite being transported to the hospital, the woman was declared dead upon arrival. She stated in her most recent video that she was depressed.

After learning of the theft, authorities detained the three suspects. The woman’s remains were discovered and returned to her Hunan province relatives.

This isn’t the first time the government has taken action against ghost marriages. Last year, the ashes of a 22-year-old lady were sold for thousands of yuan by her own family to carry out the rite.

In February, another man was condemned to death for murdering two mentally ill women and selling their bodies to rural households for fictitious marriages.

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