When the Communist Party of China is urging frugality among party officials, it’s probably a not a good time for one of them to throw a series of enormous wedding banquets. But Shanghai Daily reports that one did anyway, and has since been sacked for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive dishes like sea cucumbers and abalone.
Ma Linxiang was fired for violating a ban on excessive banquet spending by government officials with his son’s wedding, which was estimated to cost 1.6 million yuan, or just more than $260,000. It included three days of lavish banquets, the last of which was held for 400 people at the China National Convention Center, a prestigious venue built for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Guests at that event were treated to performances by famous singers and copious amounts of gourmet food, including many extremely expensive delicacies like sea cucumber and abalone.
Ma is not actually accused of misusing public funds for the wedding, but his son's wedding banquets were judged to violate the government’s ban on officials spending too much money on banquets, which is part of a wider frugality campaign intended to crack down on corruption.
Ma is blaming the whole thing on his new in-laws, who he says planned and paid for the final banquet.
"The bride’s parents were determined and I failed to dissuade them," Ma said.