Local officials' predilection for lavish
ceremonies in honour of legendary figures from the past is drawing the ire of
Chinese citizens who would prefer to see the city fathers spending their budgets
more prudently, according to a survey released in Beijing Monday.
Monday's China Youth Daily said its latest readers survey showed that about
62 percent were of the opinion that too many and too costly public memorial
ceremonies were not a good thing.
A recent ceremony held in Zhushan county in central China's Hubei province in
honour of the ancient earth goddess Nu Wo irked the citizenry when it was
revealed that the ceremony had consumed about 1.5 million yuan (about
US$197,000) of public funds.
The annual income in Hubei averages about 400 yuan (52 US dollars).
Almost 60 percent of the people surveyed agreed that the government should
not indulge in too many memorial ceremonies, the newspaper story said.
A number of ancient religious and cultural icons have become the focus of
public ceremonies in China, most of which are funded by local governments.
The administrations claim that these functions will help maintain local
cultural traditions and might allure more investors.
But the public is skeptical. According to the survey, 59 percent thought the
ceremonies were a waste of money and did not benefit the local economy.
Only 9 percent thought that this kind of ceremony was a good way to sustain
China Youth Daily surveyed 1,251 people from 31 provinces, autonomous regions
and municipal areas in China from May 28 to June 25. 76 percent of the
respondees were men.