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Chinese county ‘bans birthday parties’ after Communist Party calls for more frugal lifestyles

Rules will only apply to Communist Party members, civil servants and village elders, but are designed to set an example for all

BEIJING: A Chinese county has banned birthday parties and introduced restrictions for weddings and funerals after a call from the central Chinese government for citizens to be more frugal.

The new rules will be implemented from this month, and prohibit a range of celebrations including parties to mark birthdays, job promotions and housewarmings.

For now the measures will only apply to members of the Communist Party, civil servants and villagers leaders, but the expectation is that an example will be set for other citizens to follow.

There will now be a ban on cash gifts of more than 200 yuan (£22) for weddings and funerals, BBC News reported, despite the fact that it is an old Chinese custom to give cash gifts at parties. The traditional practice, however, is open to being misused as bribes in the case of influential hosts.

The new rules said that public servants will now have to report in advance to the government the details of wedding celebrations including a guest list and the costs involved. The rules limit the number of guests to 200 and banquet tables to 20.

The rules also stipulate an amount of 50 yuan (£5.5) for feeding each guest if the celebrations are at a restaurant, and 300 yuan (£33) per table if the function is at home. It also limits the cars in a wedding procession to less than 10.

For the past several years China has been asking people to avoid extravagance and have simple wedding celebrations, which is often seen as an indicator of one’s social status in the local culture.

Moreover, in wedding celebrations and funerals involving those in power, there is an expectation to hold it in a grand manner to be attended by hundreds.

In 2015, as part of an anti-corruption drive, China had banned Communist Party members from extravagant eating and drinking, joining golf clubs or entering private clubs.

For funerals, the rules said they can’t be longer than three days, and details of the programme must be given to the authorities within 10 days of holding it.

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