Campaign to regulate costly rural customs

Over-the-top marriages, burials become targets to relieve financial burdens

The central authorities have started a two-year campaign to regulate and rectify some outdated customs in rural areas, such as the paying of exorbitant bride prices and luxurious burials, to relieve rural financial burdens and foster the Chinese traditions of diligence and filial respect for the elderly.

According to a notice jointly released by eight central departments including the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Wednesday, the campaign started in August and is expected to end by December 2023.

The notice said that local authorities should respect people's traditional customs when implementing the campaign and take appropriate measures that can be more easily received and accepted by people in rural areas.

In the campaign, people in rural areas are encouraged to keep weddings and other ceremonies frugal and for families to not ask for or pay exorbitant bride prices. Expensive gifts in lieu of cash are also dissuaded against and banquets or parties with the purpose of collecting money must be avoided to relieve financial burdens on rural people.

Some feudal and superstitious funeral events, such as performing ghost marriages and luxurious burials, must be stopped and eliminated, according to the notice.

It states the prohibition of long-lasting and over-the-top banquets for marriages or funerals, which may result in waste. Local authorities are required to settle serious problems among people who file complaints.

Central departments such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Affairs are required to organize county-level inspection teams to visit villages to get to know the real situations of these customs. The teams will analyze the reasons for the customs and find practical solutions by the end of September.

The notice said that Party members in rural areas should take the lead to put an end to the bad habits and customs.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs and the National Rural Revitalization Administration should guide villages in making their customs and traditions more reasonable by the end of December. The regulations should include guidance on organizing appropriate marriage parties and funerals.

Well-behaved families who show their positive value to society will be praised or rewarded, according to the notice.

Agricultural departments at all levels are required to summarize their work in regulating rural bad habits and customs and report to the central authorities in late December this year and in December 2023.