China

China official sacked over son's extravagant wedding

A waitress stand next to a table of food prepared for a National Day reception at the Great Hall of the People on the eve of the Oct. 1 National Day in Beijing
Image caption China's leaders have warned officials not to flaunt excesses that stoke public anger

A village official has been sacked in China over a lavish wedding for his son that cost 1.6m yuan ($260,000;£160,000), state media say.

The wedding lasted three days - luxury cars ferried guests around and well-known entertainers kept them amused.

Ma Linxiang, deputy head of a village on Beijing's outskirts who hosted the wedding, said the bride's family had paid for most of the ceremony.

China's leaders have warned officials not to flaunt wealth amid public anger.

The wedding extravaganza took place during last week's National Day holiday, the Beijing News reported.

Marquees were erected for 210 tables, and some of the celebrations were also held at a convention centre - which had been a 2008 Beijing Olympics venue, the newspaper said.

The local Communist Party discipline inspection commission in Chaoyang district, where Mr Ma's village is located, removed him from his post on Tuesday, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The commission found no evidence that Mr Ma had used public funds for the wedding, but it believed that the extravagance of the celebration ran counter to the party's rules and damaged its image, the report said.

With official corruption rampant in China, major family events like weddings have become a front for taking bribes in the form of gifts, correspondents say.

'Not aware of costs'

Mr Ma told state media that his wealthy in-laws footed the majority of the bills for the wedding and that he was unclear of the total costs.

The wedding was estimated by local event planners to have cost 1.6m yuan, according to the Beijing News.

But Mr Ma said that he only paid for the two days of festivities in his village that cost 200,000 yuan, and that he received a fraction of that back in gifts, the newspaper said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to tackle official corruption by going after what he has called powerful "tigers" as well as lowly "flies".

The sacking of Mr Ma has received widespread support from users of Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

On the most popular, Sina Weibo, many users expressed support for the government to investigate Mr Ma, with some saying "such slugs [corrupt officials] must be removed from office".

Other users have asked how a village deputy chief could manage to have so much money. "There must be something dodgy behind it," one user said.

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