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Lavish funerals go up in smoke as China orders frugality

Published on Dec 20, 2013 1:04 AM
The crackdown on lavish funerals is the latest salvo by the ruling party to cut down on excesses. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese officials have been ordered to tone down their increasingly extravagant funerals, state media said Thursday, as Beijing made clear its sweeping austerity crackdown applies even in death.

With concerns mounting that official funerals had become a "platform to show off wealth and connections", party members and officials have been instructed to "set an example with simple, civilised" ceremonies, the state Xinhua news agency reported.

Rising displays of opulence and a trend for the number of mourners in attendance to be seen as a sign of the deceased's "achievements" were sparking competition among the living, prompting Communist Party leaders to call for more modest ceremonies, it said.

Officials have also been banned from collecting "condolence money" from attendees and from "superstitious practices".

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