By Michael Evans
In the era of Xi ‘One Soup‘ Jinping and baijiu-free banquets, it’s good to know that old fashioned government extravagance still lives on in some parts of China.
Wang Qinsheng, a deputy director of Hunan’s provincial justice department, has gained online notoriety after details of a lavish January 3 wedding held for his son were revealed online.
A post on the online forum Tianya claimed that over 100 judicial officials attended the wedding, using 20 police vehicles which photos showed parked outside.
The wedding banquet allegedly cost 85,000 yuan ($13,635), and was held at Changsha’s 5-star San Tropez Hotel. The newlyweds received more than 1 million yuan ($160,000) in cash gifts, the post claimed.
Wang has defended himself, claiming that none of the judicial bureau employees had been invited to the wedding, but had unexpectedly attended nonetheless. “They showed up and it was inappropriate to drive them away. We had to treat them,” he said.
He added that he had reported the wedding plans to discipline inspection officials two weeks in advance, and had already turned over more than 100,000 yuan ($16,000) in cash gifts to the relevant authorities.
Government vehicles have long been a target of anti-corruption activists, with many criticizing extravagant spending on massive auto fleets, along with rampant use of official cars (and the occasional ambulance) for personal business.
Some local authorities have also begun attempts to sever the links between officials’ professional and personal lives. In November, the city of Wenzhou banned officials from inviting coworkers and subordinates to private events such as weddings and birthday parties, along with prohibiting cash gifts and guest lists of more than 200 people.