You Can’t Afford Death at Shanghai’s Most Expensive Cemetery

You Can’t Afford Death at Shanghai’s Most Expensive Cemetery

Shanghai’s Songhe Cemetery has gone viral for the exorbitant price it puts on eternal slumber

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9:50 PM HKT, Wed May 3, 2023 1 mins read

We’ve come to expect skyrocketing housing prices in major cities — now, though, one Shanghai cemetery has gone viral for the exorbitant price it puts on eternal slumber.

Shanghai’s Songhe Cemetery has been causing a stir on Weibo, with astronomical prices almost six times that of housing in the city’s central area.

The Songhe Cemetery, founded in 1987, recently listed burial plots at 341,800 RMB (around 50,000 USD). With spots listed as 0.6 square meters, that shakes out to approximately 760,000 RMB per square meter when all’s said and done.

For context, the average housing price in downtown Shanghai’s Huangpu district is 130,000 RMB per square meter.


Online, netizens are lamenting a world in which cemetery plots are marketed as luxury items, saying that while living is a short-term pain, death is a long-term struggle with poverty.

“Bury me at sea when I die; save this money,” wrote one user.

“A few days ago, I learned that burials at sea also have a strict approval process,” replied another.

The cemetery itself is undeniably luxurious. Exquisite tombstones can be customized to your preference, offering a fitting tribute to your dearly departed.

Additionally, 24-hour security ensures that offerings left by loved ones remain safe from theft, and the picturesque landscapes surrounding the cemetery could easily be mistaken for a sprawling city park.


Visitors can even visit the graves of 11 notable figures, including opera performers, politicians, and cultural icons. The cemetery’s website provides a detailed account of each celebrity’s life, so you can rest easy knowing that your remains are in the company of greatness!

Apart from its impressive facilities, Songhe Cemetery offers plenty of unique services, the most popular of which features staff in military uniforms who assist you in tending to family members’ graves.

Extra add-ons cater to all budgets, from 430 RMB incense burners to 5,200 RMB copper angels (around 60 and 750 USD, respectively). Flower rentals provide another ongoing source of monthly revenue.


In response to the controversy, Songhe Cemetery initially defended its prices as open, fair, and reasonable. Shortly after, though, they removed all prices from their official website.

China’s cemeteries are divided into two types: public welfare and commercial. Public welfare cemeteries cater to most of the country’s urban and rural residents, while commercial cemeteries like Songhe are classified as businesses. The latter can offer luxurious facilities, picturesque landscapes, and customizable options — as long as you have the cash, of course.

In traditional Chinese culture, death and respect are closely linked. On Qingming Festival, for instance, families set aside time to visit the graves of departed loved ones — and for many, registering a prestigious cemetery plot can be a final act of filial piety, as well as a symbol of social status.

So if you thought today’s cost of living was steep, it seems like the cost of dying isn’t much better.

RADII believes in the importance of transparency in our changing world. AI-powered tools were used by our editors in the research or production of this post. All content is composed, fact-checked, and edited by our in-house editorial staff.

Photos via Songhe Mausoleum

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