88 Million People Banned from Golf in China

Words: Tim Southwell Photography: Getty Images

The Chinese Communist Party has banned all 88 million of its members from joining golf clubs, in its latest update of party discipline rules. Extravagant eating and drinking, and abuse of power, are also formally banned, said Xinhua news agency.

88 million people in China banned from golf!

As part of a big ant-corruption drive that started in 2012, the party has in the past warned its officials to refrain from extravagant dinners and purchasing moon cakes (a thin, tender pastry) using public funds.

The new rule on golf states that members are banned from “obtaining, holding or using membership cards for gyms, clubs, golf clubs, or various other types of consumer cards, or entering private clubs”. Any fun stuff, basically.

If caught, members could either receive a warning or be kicked out of the party. The perception, rightly or wrongly, is that golf clubs are where the corrupt go to conduct shady deals, hence the ban.

It was reported recently that at least 60 employees in state-owned companies were punished for spending public funds on playing golf. Earlier this month, Lin Chunsong, a vice-mayor in the south-eastern Fujian province, was sacked for belonging to a golf club and playing golf while he should have been at work.

Another new rule states that party members cannot “violate official provisions on hospitality management and engage in over-the-top entertaining, or take advantage of opportunities for extravagant eating and drinking”. Well, that’s Peter Allisss out for a start.

88 million people in China banned from golf!

President Xi Jinping has led a major anti-corruption campaign since taking office three years ago. He has previously warned of unrest if corruption and perceived privilege within the Communist Party are not tackled.

One owner of a golf equipment store in Shanghai, who was only identified by his surname, Huang, told Reuters that his store’s sales had dropped at least 30% last year. Golf in China was “about the social interaction”, he said. “If a company boss can’t play with a government official, there’s little point in him spending his money.”

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