One does not normally need a reason to throw a big party. But in one Chinese county, a person needs to have a very good reason — and official approval — for throwing a big party, because the government has just prohibited residents from throwing too many lavish birthday banquets.
According to The Wall Street Journal, government officials in Tongjiang county in Sichuan province have banned banquets except for weddings, funerals, and birthday parties for people over 70 years old. Even people over 70 are only allowed one big banquet every decade, while people in their 50s and 60s are allowed to have modest birthday parties with “only three or five tables of family members or friends,” said Wang Jing, the head of the Tongjiang county foreign affairs office, to The Wall Street Journal. Civil servants are not allowed any birthday banquets at all, and any prospective banquets must be approved at least 15 days ahead of time by producing proof of age or a marriage certificate. Funerals are reportedly allowed without approval.
Wang said the effort is part of an attempt to try to get local people from throwing extravagant parties all the time, and to try to keep civil servants from lavish spending.
“(Residents should) refrain from holding extravagant events — including weddings, funerals, birthdays and many other kinds of parties — which many local people really despise and cannot afford,” she said.