Party members in wedding banquet soup

Updated: 2015-12-08 11:22

By Zhu Yuan(China Daily)

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However, it is customary for Chinese parents to hold a dinner party to celebrate the marriage of their sons and daughters. Traditionally a wedding has been a once-in-a-lifetime occasion that should be enjoyed by as many relatives and friends as possible, especially because it is considered a blessing for the newly wed couple. Perhaps the village Party secretary resigned from his post just to hold such a banquet for his daughter’s wedding.

The Party’s move to tighten control over the behaviors of its members is more than welcome. The Party is totally right to take measures to ensure that most of its members become role models for society. And it is a political and social compulsion to punish officials who tarnish the Party’s image by amassing personal fortune through abuse of power.

More important, it is absolute justified for an official, especially high-ranking one, who is also a Party member to receive disciplinary punishment if he/she uses a wedding banquet to take bribes or extort money from subordinates.

Yet how to determine whether a wedding reception is a ruse to take bribes is not clear. The Party’s Regulations on Disciplinary Punishments for Party Members only stipulates that a member who uses his/her influence or political clout to organize luxurious ceremonies for weddings, funerals or other important occasions is guilty of violating Party discipline and should receive disciplinary punishment.

This has prompted some local Party committees to make their own specifications on how many guests a Party member or official can invite to such a ceremony. But how can the veracity and solemnity of a banquet depend on the number of guests? A small number of guests does not mean the organizer will not exploit the occasion for personal gains. It seems some local Party committees have overstretched or oversimplified the Party’s disciplinary rule on this specific issue, because the rule is meant to prevent such occasions from being misused by corrupt officials, not to prevent or make it very difficult for a Party member or official to hold a wedding reception for his/her daughter or son.

According to a story doing the rounds, a youth has a hard time convincing his girlfriend’s parents that the wedding banquet cannot be too big because his father is an official. How does one reach a compromise between the youth who cannot have a big wedding reception and his girlfriend’s parents who insist on having a grand banquet?

Maybe, its time for a clearer rule on how to politically sanctify wedding banquets and other special familial ceremonies, so that the corrupt elements are targeted, and ordinary and honest Party members and officials know what constitutes a clean wedding party.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.

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