The Chinese Communist Party is a believer in the idea that social campaigns and top-down orders are a good way to tackle personal behavior shaped over decades. It’s now turning to this approach to rescue the country’s declining marriage rate.
On May 24, the northern Chinese province of Hebei announced that (link in Chinese) it has set up five “pilot zones” where authorities will carry out a three-year experiment to weed out wedding traditions such as hefty “bride prices,” extravagant ceremonies, and vulgar wedding games, according to a document (link in Chinese) published on the website of the Hebei Civil Affairs department. The designated zones include the Xiong’an New Area, a project launched by Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2017 to take over some administrative functions from Beijing, which neighbors Hebei, to reduce some of the capital city’s burden.
Beyond the five areas in Hebei, China has set up another 15 similar experimental wedding zones across the country, ranging from cities in the northern autonomous region of Inner Mongolia to a district in the southern Chinese city of Chengdu, according to an announcement by the national Civil Affairs Department in April.
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