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Bankrupt banquets

(Global Times)

10:00, October 12, 2012

(CNSPHOTO/ Li Yifang)

Parties should be fun. But in many areas of China, supposed celebrations have brought little but suffering.

In many Chinese villages and towns excessive feasts have brought heavy financial burdens for local people, or worse, driven people to leave their hometowns desperately to avoid feasts. Apart from the expense of the banquet itself, the giving of costly gifts or envelopes of cash is expected at most Chinese events.

In Hefeng, a poverty-stricken county with a population of 220,000 in Central China's Hubei Province, the local government banned people from extravagant feasts, save for marriages and funerals, in December last year, hoping to divert people's attention to developing the local economy, rather than indulging in booze-fuelled banquets. Local banqueting culture had spiraled completely out of control.

The Hefeng county government has estimated the ban helped save as many as 60 million yuan ($9.5 million). "Villagers can spare cash gifts and invest in productive activities," Luo Ping, the local official in charge of the implementation of the ban, told the Global Times.

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