Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Postcard from... Beijing

  • @cliffordcoonan


Ma Lianxiang, the Chinese government official in Beijing who fell foul of a corruption crackdown and was fired after he spent 1.6 million yuan (£160,000) on his son’s three-day wedding extravaganza, has blamed his daughter-in-law’s family for the lavish spending.

Expensive dishes of sea  cucumber, limousines to bring everyone to and from events, 210 tables and well-known local stars to entertain the guests: nothing was too much for Mr Ma’s wedding feast. Cash gifts for the newlyweds amounted  to 60,000 yuan (£6,150), the  Beijing Morning Post reported.

However, President Xi  Jinping (pictured) is pushing through his anti-corruption campaign to help ease public anger at what is seen as abuse of power and influence by cadres. The discipline committee of Mr Ma’s local Communist Party in Chaoyang district removed him from his post as deputy director of the Qingheying village committee earlier this week.

While is found no proof that he used public funds to pay for the event, at the Beijing Conference Centre, the committee said it damaged the image of the party at a time of austerity. The local disciplinary authority has ruled that Mr Ma’s actions might lead to public discontent.

But Mr Ma said it wasn’t his fault – family pressures had prevailed. He said he spent only about 200,000 yuan (£20,490) and the remainder of the bill was paid by his daughter-in-law’s wealthy family in Jiangsu province. “I know the strictures from the central authority, and it is not appropriate,” he said. “But the family of my son’s wife insisted on holding the banquets.”