Chinese village cadre probed after son’s wedding

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese village Communist Party official came under investigation after his son’s three-day, $260,000 wedding was exposed, state media reported late Monday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said that the party discipline inspection commission in Beijing’s Chaoyang district would investigate Ma Linxiang, a deputy party director in the village of Qingheying.

The extravagance came at a time when China’s leadership has warned party officials not to flaunt excesses that stoke public anger. In China’s pervasive culture of corruption, weddings have become a front for bribe taking in the form of lavish wedding gifts.

Ma told state media that his wealthy in-laws footed the majority of the bills for the nuptials last week.

One ceremony that was part of the wedding celebrations was held at the China National Convention Center, which was a venue for the 2008 Olympics. Nationally known entertainers were hired to perform for guests of the wedding, and luxury cars were sighted.

Ma told state media that he spent only 200,000 yuan ($32,000) to treat villagers and friends to two days of banquets in the village and received about $10,000 from villagers who had chipped in. “I did not do anything special but conformed to village traditions,” Ma said.

He said the in-laws insisted on hiring performers and on hosting a wedding banquet at the convention center. “I know the strictures and that we should not have done what we did, but the in-laws were determined, and I could not dissuade them,” Chinese media quoted Ma as saying. “I accept the criticism and investigation from the party.”

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