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Guideline limits betrothal gifts at 60,000 yuan

By Shi Baoyin and Qi Xin in Zhengzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-05 07:43

A county in Henan province recently issued a guideline on arranging weddings and funerals, in which it stated that the total amount of money a man gives his fiancee's family should not exceed 60,000 yuan ($8,645).

Guideline limits betrothal gifts at 60,000 yuan

Betrothal gifts are a tradition deeply rooted in Chinese culture and has long existed in the country, especially in rural areas.

The guideline, issued by the Taiqian county government, stated that a wedding banquet should serve no more than 10 tables of guests and the total number of vehicles used should be six or fewer. Those who don't follow the rules will be punished, according to the guideline.

"The guideline is aimed at promoting a new attitude toward weddings by simplifying premarital proceedings and marriage ceremonies in the county," said Li Hongwei, an official in the county.

He added that the families of fiancees generally ask for larger betrothal gifts as a way of showing off among fellow villagers and partly because of the unbalanced sex ratio, which has brought a lot of pressure on the families of the bridegrooms-to-be.

The guideline took effect on Sunday, with Li saying that villages will work out detailed measures to implement the regulations.

Zhang Ming, 21, a male villager, said it is a big issue to get married in rural areas. As Chinese get wealthier, women often demand cars, houses or other assets from their husbands-to-be when they are about to get married. A lot of rural parents spend their entire savings and rack up a great amount of debt to help their sons tie the knot.

Li said it is common to see a family spend more than 300,000 yuan on a wedding, with grooms often needing to borrow significant sums of money from their friends and relatives.

"I work hard to earn money in Zhengzhou to prepare for my son's wedding, as we don't want other villagers to look down on us. The new guideline limits the betrothal gifts, but whether all villagers will accept it is another question," said Wang Xiaofei, 56, a native of the county who is a migrant worker in Zhengzhou.

Lu Yingying, a counselor on a dating website, said that the central government is opposed to extravagance and waste, adding that the cost of a wedding is not a good way to judge a family, and the new guideline will push people to become more pragmatic.

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