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Hanoi - A new government decree has banned civil servants from having glass-topped coffins, state media reported Friday.

Under the decree, which will take effect on February 1, state employees are banned from having glass-topped coffins, restricted from having more than 30 wreaths and cannot burn votive as offerings at the funeral, newspaper Tuoi Tre said.

The decree is aimed at aimed at fighting “superstition and backward and wasteful practices while maintaining the nation's cultural traits in conducting funerals”, the decree said. It encourages cremations.

Observers say the move is an attempt to clean up the government's image after a string of corruption scandals amid economic slowdown.

In October, the government issued a directive barring party members from inviting more than 300 guests to weddings, and advised against using opulent venues like five-star hotels. Extravagant weddings had prompted public criticism and “hurt the prestige of party members,” it said. - Sapa-dpa