It is stipulated that the maximum sum of marriage dowry should be within 60,000 yuan (U.S.$ 8,628), sparking intense debate among the public, reported Henan Business Daily on January 4.
No more than 60,000 yuan for marriage dowry
Apart from the dowry ceiling, the guideline also promotes simplifying wedding procedures and calls "no car or house as the prerequisite for marriage" as is the current cultural norm in China for the groom to have before marrying.
County officials can hand out punishments such as calling off a wedding when violations were spotted.
The guideline was enforced on January 1, 2017. However, this standard is only a guideline and not mandatory.
Cultural norm that goes out of control
As a cultural tradition in China, groom's family gives a big sum of money to bride's family before getting married.
But in recent years, marriage dowry has caused a great burden for families, particularly in rural areas of China.
"Some families here have to spend over 300,000 yuan (USD 43,100) on wedding ceremonies. Young people's weddings have cost all the money of the families." said Li Hongwei, an official of Taiqian County.
But official data show that the average income of residents in rural Henan was 9,300 yuan, falling far short of the desired dowry amount.
Wang Jing, a groom-to-be in Puyang, Henan, told local newspaper Henan Business Daily that he almost spent all of his parents' money for his wedding.
Another young man, Wang Feng, was asked by his girlfriend's family for some 130,000 yuan, an amount that his family cannot afford.
Wang Feng's parents had to borrow the money from friends and family. They now work in Tibet to pay off the debts.
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