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Officials at center of 'red envelopes' probe

TWO officials with local industrial and commercial watchdogs in Fujian and Guangdong provinces are being investigated for asking for "red envelopes" at weddings and funerals.

Chen Maohua, 51, director of the Yancuo Industrial and Commercial Administration in Fujian Province's Longhai City, has been suspended after reportedly inviting businessmen and local government officials, even unknown people, to his son's wedding on May 16, yesterday's China Youth Daily reported.

According to local custom, an invitation is understood to be a request for money.

One recipient complained to Longhai's disciplinary supervisors and many others said they didn't know Chen.

Chen told investigators he had sent 150 invitations to business executives and township officials in Jiuhu and Yancuo towns, both under his administration.

A supermarket owner who declined to be named told China Youth Daily that local people usually give 300 yuan (US$44) at weddings. But he thought the donation should be about 1,000 yuan for a man as powerful as Chen.

Separately, in Guangdong Province's Shanwei City, Zhang Huimin, director of the Haifeng County Industrial and Commercial Administration, is being investigated by disciplinary authorities over his mother's funeral, yesterday's News Express reported.

On a board at the funeral parlor visitors left paper slips marking the amount of money donated by mourners. The amounts ranged from a dozen yuan to several thousand.


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