Officials Pour Salt on Feast to Curb Excessive Spending in China | World News

NEW DELHI: A group of local government officials in China sparked a controversy on social media when they poured salt over the food at a lavish village banquet. The banquet was part of a ‘hair-shaving celebration’ for a baby’s first haircut, a tradition that was meant to wish the child good luck and success.
A ‘hair-shaving celebration’ is a customary event where a family commemorates their baby’s inaugural haircut, extending wishes of prosperity for the child’s future.Traditionally, the trimmed hair is fashioned into a brush, symbolizing hopes for academic achievements. Yet, in contemporary times, this tradition has transformed into a spectacle of lavish feasting, fostering social rivalry and enabling opportunistic gains within the community.
However, the celebration had become a way of showing off wealth and exploiting the villagers by local businesses. The officials, led by the deputy town chief of Xiaohai town in Guizhou province, tried to stop the banquet on January 30, but when they failed, they resorted to ruining the food with salt while laughing, a South China Morning Post report said.
The next day, the Weining county government issued a statement saying that the officials had been severely criticized and educated, and that they had apologized to the villagers. “The Xiaohai Town Party Committee and government take this matter seriously. The involved officials have been criticized and educated, and they have been asked to make a profound self-examination. They apologized to the villagers on January 31 and were forgiven,” the statement said. “Moving forward, our county will strengthen publicity efforts to guide the public to consciously resist outdated and bad practices, and to establish a new civil culture,” it added.
The incident divided the online public, with some supporting the officials’ intervention and others condemning their actions. The officials involved in the salt-pouring incident have been reprimanded, but forgiven. One person said: “At first, I didn’t understand why they did this. Then, I looked up how outrageous the local banquets can be.” “The banquets are everywhere, focusing on collecting red envelopes, which leaves the elderly unable to save money. This behavior must be stopped,” another agreed. “The methods of the officials were indeed improper. The food was already prepared and it shouldn’t have been wasted by pouring salt over it. Instead, the host should be asked to return all the red envelopes given as gifts and let the guests eat for free,” said a third.


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