It costs way too much for the average Chinese worker to live in Beijing.  And now, skyrocketing funeral and grave prices mean that death is just as unaffordable.

Most people in China cremate family members and bury the ashes in urns.  But the funeral store at Beijing’s Babaoshan graveyard now charges the equivalent of A$600 to A$2000 just for the urn.

And then there’s the price of the grave.

Beijing Tonghui Cemetery charges A$5,700 for a single square meter to store funeral urns.  That’s about as much as real estate for the living – which is A$5,500 to A$6,300 per square meter.

And by the way, that’s just for a 20-year lease.  China’s enormous population means cremains get a limited shelf life.  Then there’s grave maintenance, design fees, administrative costs…

Now take into account that the average worker’s salary in Beijing is about A$722 per month, and that’s dragged a little higher than reality because of China’s exploding income divide.

Wang Jisheng, deputy administrator of the China Funeral Association, blames it all on supply and demand.  "Australia has a population of 20 million, but it has over 10,000 cemeteries, “he says, “But China had only 3,000 cemeteries for 1.3 billion.”