Communist Party members and government officials must have simple funerals without any "feudal" or "superstitious" elements, the government said yesterday, as the leadership seeks to curb extravagance among members. President Xi Jinping ordered the crackdown late last year when he became party boss, seeking to assuage public anger at waste and extravagance, particularly officials seen abusing their position to illegally amass wealth. Having already taken aim at everything from banquets to bribes, the party has now turned its attention to funerals. The government said that there had been a return to "bad habits" for some officials, with "feudal and superstitious activities making a resurgence", including a drop in the number of cremations, the building of ornate mausoleums and holding of over-the-top funerals. This "damages the image of the party and the government, and harms social morals", the government said in a statement on its main website. "Except in the case of stipulations from the state, special funeral arrangement groups and mourning memorials in general, should not be held for deceased party members and officials," the statement said. Cremations have been encouraged by the officially atheist Communist Party as a way to save agricultural land. Funerals can be lavish affairs, complete with hundreds of mourners and elaborate rituals. Xinhua reported funerals were increasingly a platform to show off wealth and connections, with the degree of opulence and number of mourners symbolising the "achievements" of the dead, and setting a benchmark for competition among the living. The government said such practices had to stop. The new rules also strictly forbid officials and party members from taking advantage of funerals to collect condolence money from visitors, Xinhua reported. "In densely populated regions the bodies of members and officials must be cremated … and their gravestones should not exceed set standards," it said. "Party members and officials have to proactively promote funeral reform, and guide family members, friends and the masses, to prevent bad funeral habits in a timely way and stop ... feudal and superstitious activities."