Beijing, China: Golfing in the world’s most populous nation is no longer a crime, according to media reports.
As a consequence of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive, golf was last year banned among Communist Party members.
However, it seems there has been a recent softening towards the game, which was previously described as ‘a prime example of Western decadence’.
An article this week in the Discipline Inspection and Supervision News, the official newspaper of China’s anti-corruption agency, said: “Since it is only a sport, there is no right or wrong about playing golf.”
The publication highlighted Article 87 of the Communist Party’s disciplinary regulation which deals with potential punishments for the illicit possession of golf membership cards.
A China Daily editorial said: “Can officials play golf while the nation steps up efforts to clamp down on corruption and promote austerity? The answer is yes – if they pay out of their own pockets. Playing golf itself is not a wrong-doing.”
Nevertheless, a report in the Global Times suggested the Communist Party continued to harbour serious reservations about golf.
Su Wei, an academic at a school for Communist Party cadres in Chongqing, told the newspaper that Chinese golf courses had become ‘an arena for corruption’ where bribes were routinely offered to government officials.
“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,” Su was quoted as saying.