Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, April 22, 2016

To golf or not to golf?

Golf has been a symbol used by many politicians. It's also a game preferred by many politicians. What's up now in China? Is a majority of the Politburo figuring out their handicaps? Does some big time golf course owner have the ears of top policy makers? Are deal makers looking for places to talk that aren't monitored by security forces?

Golf is no longer a crime, decrees China's Communist party
Banned by Mao Zedong – who despised the “sport for millionaires” – golf enjoyed a renaissance during the 80s and 90s only to be outlawed for the party’s 85 million members in 2015 as a result of president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive.

Articles in the party-controlled media have painted China’s golf courses as cauldrons of profiteering where the palms of rotten officials are greased by favour-seeking business people…
Party leaders appeared to step back from their condemnation of the game this week.

“Since it is only a sport, there is no right or wrong about playing golf,” an article in the Discipline Inspection and Supervision News, the official newspaper of China’s anti-corruption agency, declared.

The newspaper pointed to article 87 of the Communist party’s disciplinary regulations which deals with potential punishments for the illicit possession of golf membership cards.

“Can officials play golf while the nation steps up efforts to clamp down on corruption and promote austerity?” the China Daily asked. “The answer is yes - if they pay out of their own pockets.”…

Su Wei, an academic at a school for Communist party cadres in Chongqing, told the Global Times, “Golf can satisfy some officials’ vanity, corrupting their lifestyle, which can lead to damage to the Party’s image and the erosion of officials’ ability to serve.”…

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