China officials try to rein in 'bride price'
Officials in eastern China are trying to limit the soaring cost of getting married by recommending a maximum price that grooms should pay to brides' families.
In recent decades it has become a trend in China for a man to give his wife-to-be's family a cash sum, like a reverse dowry. But the "bride price" has been rising, particularly in poorer rural areas where there are fewer potential wives, reaching more than 100,000 yuan ($14,000; £12,000) in some places.
The authorities in Taiqian county, Henan Province, want marriage costs to be less extreme. New guidelines say the "bride price" should not exceed 60,000 yuan, and the authorities are also urging betrothed couples to have simpler weddings, China National Radio reports. There should be no more than 10 tables of guests at the reception, and a maximum of six cars involved in the event, the guidelines say.
There's no punishment for disregarding the advice, but wedding organisers and local Communist Party committees have been told to intervene "at once", according to the radio.
Not all social media users welcome the new guidelines, with many saying the government has no right to get involved. "The rules are made with good intentions, but how much money a family wants to give is a private matter," says one user. Another asks: "Which law gives the government permission to reach into people's family matters?" But some people are more positive, with one writing: "For those that can't afford to marry, this is good news."
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