[World Times]

Photo: VCG

Zhang Yongxiang, a villager from Yangyuhui village in Chengzhuang town, Lyuliang, North China’s Shanxi Province, happily showed the Global Times the lively scenes at his son’s recent wedding. The wedding and dowry only cost a total of 20,000 yuan ($2,738), a relatively small price to pay for the great joy the event brought the family. Prior to this, Zhang had heard many stories of fellow villagers who had incurred heavy debts or even took out loans to host extravagant weddings and pay exorbitant dowries, and Zhang feared that his family would fall into the same financial trap.

Thanks to local campaigns launched to curb costly rural marriages, Zhang became a direct beneficiary of the two-year campaign to regulate and modernize outdated customs in rural areas initiated by central authorities in 2022.

Eight national departments jointly issued a notice in August 2022 to address the prominent problems of excessive bride price and extravagant wedding ceremonies in China’s rural areas by rolling out a special work plan for a nationwide campaign. The campaign started in August and is expected to end in December this year.

According to the work plan, a series of advocating standards will be promoted in the counties, townships, and villages, resulting in the preservation and inheritance of excellent traditional Chinese virtues.

As recipients of an advanced model of reform in Lyuliang, Chengzhuang town has effectively curbed the momentum of the spread of a series of outdated conventions and harmful customs such as the paying of exorbitant bride prices and luxurious burials, to relieve rural residents of financial burdens and foster the Chinese traditions of diligence and filial respect for the elderly.

“The organization of weddings and funerals best reflects rural civilization. The extravagant spending and flaunting of wealth in these events is detrimental, and not only burdens impoverished families but also goes against the goal of achieving common prosperity in our country,” Meng Fei, the Party Secretary of Chengzhuang town, told the Global Times. “Therefore, our campaign aims to abolish such customs and use village regulations to guide and urge the residents to consciously abandon outdated customs.”

At the entrance of Yangyuhui village, a prominent display board showcases the village’s regulations on promoting frugality and simplicity in weddings and funerals. It encourages the purchase of wedding gifts not exceeding 200 yuan by relatives and 100 yuan by other guests, and advocates for simple funeral arrangements with a mourning period not exceeding 5 days.

The regulation also calls for the abandonment of behaviors such as the promotion of vulgar values associated with romantic relationships and marriage, including asking for and the payment of excessive bride prices.

Moreover, regulations are put in place to address the failure to fulfill filial duties and to curb the promotion of feudal superstitions and vulgar activities at funerals, such as ghost marriages. Extravagant wedding ceremonies and funerals that lead to significant wastage are also subject to regulation.

Giving a bride price and dowry has a long history in China as a goodwill gesture between the couple meant to tie the knot and their families. However, the nature of traditional customs has changed a lot over the years and has become a financial burden to many families, especially in rural China.

Meng told the Global Times that in Linxian county, where Chengzhuang town is located, funeral arrangements are incredibly complicated and consuming. Various procedures such as setting up a memorial hall, mourning in the morning and evening, and performing rituals such as kneeling and kowtowing, are included as part of the ritual. In order to simplify funeral arrangements, the towns and villages in Linxian county have introduced “memorial meetings” as part of traditional funerals, eliminating the need for complex ceremonies.

When they hear of a family planning an expensive traditional funeral, Meng and the village cadres promptly visit to encourage a simplified memorial meeting. This meeting can be organized with the assistance of village cadres or the village council responsible for overseeing funerals and weddings.

As of April, Chengzhuang town had organized over 100 memorial meetings for various communities. Zhang Rongrong, the Party Secretary of Yangyuhui village, told the Global Times that the village has invited respected elders and influencers to participate in the village council responsible for overseeing funerals and weddings to promote these new customs. The council mandates that villagers report their events in advance, even including specific details such as the brands of cigarettes and alcohol to be used, in order to discourage excessive competition among villagers.

“In the past, some people would even take out loans to host extravagant weddings or funerals to show off, placing a great burden on families and promoting bad practices. Now, advocating for new customs is also providing the villagers with an alternative,” said Zhang.

The burden of expenditures on weddings, banquets, and betrothal gifts for people in the village has been significantly reduced since the start of the campaign, Zhang noted.

“Through effective education and guidance, we have freed the local residents from such outdated customs and unnecessary expenses,” Zhang said. So far, all 21 villages in Chengzhuang town have updated their village regulations regarding these changes in customs. The town has organized more than 320 memorial services, and the local people have reduced their expenses by over 1.7 million yuan ($0.23 million).”

文章来源于互联网:Efforts to regulate costly rural marriage and burial customs alleviate financial burden of villagers in North China’s Shanxi

Related suggestion: Albanese seeks more cooperation, dialogue with China, paving way for summit diplomacy resumption

[World Times] Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the 6th China International Import Expo in Shanghai on November 5, 2023. Photo: Chen Xia/GT While calling for Australia to withstand challenges and pressure from external forces, Chinese observers believe Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s ongoing visit to China marks another historic moment in bilateral relations and imbues great significance in improving ties. They predicted that this landmark visit will pave the way for the two Asia-Pacific partners to resume summit diplomacy and facilitate more cooperation and strategic dialogue.The observers’ remarks came as Albanese embarked on his first visit to China since taking office. “This is my seventh visit to the People’s Republic of China, but my first as Prime Minister of Australia,” Albanese said in a speech at the opening ceremony of…

By Obama

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *