Chinese officials are required to get advance approval before holding a wedding or a funeral. Officials working in the southern province of Guangdong are now required to give a 10-day notice before holding a wedding ceremony or a funeral for spending approval by the state.
Guangdong’s Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection issued its newest rules as a result of an ongoing effort to crack down on extravagant spending among party members, local newspaper New Express Daily reported.
Officials at all levels will need to report all expenditures and plans for large private occasions at least 10 working days in advance, and declare all costs in an annual report. The new rules will also prohibit fellow civil servants from attending events. The anti-graft bureau hopes that the directives will elicit more frugal spending habits.
The commission offered a guideline of “four No's” to help clearly state violations:
1. No work-related guests
2. No accepting gifts and cash from work-related people
3. No use of public funds
4. No lavish ceremonies
The new list of rules runs in the same vein as the central government’s overall drive to strip the party of corruption. Since taking office, President Xi Jinping has continued to deepen his clampdown on extravagant spending, often a big indicator of corruption, within the party as a way of rooting out crooked cadres at all levels. Spending on everything from big-ticket items like new homes to smaller items such as mooncakes is being scrutinized.
Weddings in China have become a hotbed for corruption. Opulent ceremonies and receptions that can often include expensive gifts like fancy cars, top-shelf liquor and cash gifts are often a way to unearth money from corruption or other ill-gotten gains.
In fact, state-run news source Beijing News reported that lavish weddings accounted for about 17 percent of investigations of officials accused of violating the directive against ostentatious spending in 2012.
One Beijing official reportedly pocketed 37,000 yuan (about $6,000) in cash from people who attended his son’s wedding, including local business owners and other community members.