China launches campaign to address problems of excessive bride price, extravagant wedding ceremonies
Published: Sep 21, 2022 11:59 PM
Chinese wedding Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Eight national departments have jointly issued a notice on Wednesday 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.

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

The work plan jointly released by eight departments, including China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and China's Ministry of Civil Affairs, will strengthen ideological and moral development in rural areas and carry forward traditional Chinese virtues to promote the civilized rural customs in China's rural areas.

According to the notice, the campaign was launched in August and will be carried out through the end of next year. The campaign is aimed at effectively curbing the spreading momentum of a series of outdated conventions and bad customs in some parts of China such as highly valued bride price and dowry, comparison in expense of maintaining social relationship, generous burial and poor support, and extravagance and waste.

According to the work plan, the burden of expenditures on weddings, banquets and betrothal gifts for people in the rural areas will be significantly reduced. A series of advocating standards will be promoted in the counties, townships and villages and the excellent traditional Chinese virtues will be carried forward and inherited.

Behaviors such as promoting vulgar values of romantic relationship and marriage, asking for and showing off an excessive bride price, and encouraging to raise the bride price will be regulated.

The campaign will regulate the problem of giving gifts in cash in social relationships. Gifts involving a lot of money have brought heavy burdens on people in rural areas.

Also, the failure to fulfill filial duty and the promotion of feudal superstitions and vulgar activities at funerals, such as ghost marriage, will be regulated.

Overly large-scale and extravagant wedding ceremonies and funerals which cause serious waste will be regulated.

With the number of people at prime marriage age declining in recent years and late marriage trending in China, registrations of married couples in China dropped to a record low in 2021 with only 7.64 million registering their marriage, the first time for the figure to be less than 8 million since 2003 and the lowest since 1986, when the ministry started to disclose the figures.

Demographers have warned that the decline in the number of marriage registrations will inevitably result in the decline of the birth rate in China, since most children are born within marriages in China.