Hanoi ban on lavish Party weddings in effect

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The Party unit committee in Hanoi has put into effect a set of regulations that ban local Party officials from holding luxurious weddings, despite criticisms that the new rules were impractical.

Under a directive on "a civilized lifestyle for weddings" that came into effect Wednesday, officials are not allowed to invite more than 300 guests to their weddings and those of their children. They are also not allowed to host weddings at five-star hotels, hi-end resorts and other "luxurious" locations.

It asks officials to organize weddings in an "economical" and "healthy" way, and "encourages" them to make wedding announcements without organizing parties.

According to the committee, the directive aims to ease public outcry over the fact that despite Politburo orders, many leaders have recently organized "extravagant" weddings.

The committee said that such indulgences have badly affected the reputation of Party officials in general as well as the capital city's objective to "create" "civilized and elegant" Hanoians.

Asked about public concern over the practicality of enforcing the new rules, Ho Quang Loi, chief of the Party unit's propaganda and training department, said officials would have "correct" awareness and would "voluntarily" follow the "reasonable" directive.

Those who fail to abide by the rules would be detected by local residents, Loi said, adding that there was thus no need to establish a special task force to supervise weddings.

He said the Party inspectorate would receive people's complaints and propose punishments for officials who violate the regulations.

Since the directive was revealed Friday last week, experts and officials have criticized it for being "unreasonable" and "impossible to enforce."

Speaking to Thanh Nien, Nguyen Phi Thao, vice chairman of Ba Thien Commune in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, said it was not possible to tell whether or not a wedding was economical and "civilized" based on the number of guests.

According to Thao, his daughter was going to get married and even though his family wanted to do everything economically, they were planning some 100 tables (each for 10-12 guests), because they had to invite all their relatives and friends.

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Hanoi bans Party officials from having luxurious weddings

The regulations should have targeted officials only, instead of also including their relatives, he added.

Sociologist Trinh Hoa Binh advised against trying to manage weddings with administrative measures.

Binh said awareness raising was the only way to handle social issues.

"To convince people to change their mind is better than to ordering them to do so," he said.

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