• Local officials in Puding county will limit banquets to funerals and weddings.

Local officials in Puding county will limit banquets to funerals and weddings. (Photo : Getty Images)

In the county of Puding, a banquet ban is imposed to limit the number of guests to invite. This is strictly implemented in the city of Anshun.

A team of officials was organized last year to oversee the ethical and cultural practices in Anshun. The committee is supervised by the local government.

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The regulating committee was also formed to monitor corruption activities of government officials. When the city government began to see the rising number of banquets, they began to probe deeper and decided to regulate social gatherings.

A statement from the local government stated, "There were too many banquets. On average, each household spent about one-third of its annual income on cash gifts."

The government explained, "To raise the money to provide cash gifts, some villagers sold crops they had earmarked as food for the family and even borrowed money at usurious rates."

The local body also noted that the banquets became "a method of raising money" and led "the practice resulted in a huge financial burden that led to many people suffering" for those who attended.

The increasing number of banquets led to the government intervention and observed that there were even people who relocated just to get rid of the burden of relocating to distant towns and cities.

Zhang Qingsong, a former resident of Anshun, said that he had to move out to improve his state of life.

He said, "Everybody held banquets. If you worked in my hometown, it was almost certain that you would become poorer and poorer. The money you made would not be enough to provide all the cash gifts."

"Sometimes I received more than 10 invitations a month. It was a face-related issue: If you didn't ask for leave to attend banquets, other people wouldn't attend yours, so you lost face. However, if you worked a long distance away, you had an excuse to not to attend," he added.

The banquet ban now limits socialization to weddings and funerals only. The new law requires bans the giving of cash gifts.