China driving against ‘millionaire’s sport’ with closure of 100 golf courses –

The crackdown has largely failed because local governments have encouraged the building of clubs to boost tourism and increase development opportunities.

They are often submitted to planners as parks or other green areas, before they are later transformed into golf clubs.

Golf is apparently popular among local bureaucrats, but the Communist Party has previously attempted to distance its members from the sport, banning officials in the southern province of Guangdong from playing during working hours in 2014.

Last year, Beijing told cadres they were prohibited from receiving membership to clubs as gifts, but subsequently reiterated that the sport was not illegal – as long as officials paid for it.

Golf was branded a “sport for millionaires” by Mao Tse-tung after he came to power in 1949, and the war on golf was seen as part of a wider campaign by Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, on corruption and excess.

Many in China are angered by high-living officials in a country which has sharp divisions of wealth.

But golf has become a popular sport for China’s wealthy, and many child stars have emerged in recent years, often after been sent on expensive training courses in Guangdong by their rich, highly-disciplined parents.

Additional reporting by Christine Wei


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