Tuesday, January 24, 2017

China Bans 100 of Current Golf Courses

It might seem strange to western democratic society, but the Peoples' Republic of China has now banned 100 of the existing cohort of Golf Courses - gone, no longer available!

There had been some prior "noise" about the issue but suddenly last week - it was announced this would actually happen.  Golf courses are reputedly numbering around 693 in China, with many developed after 2004.

I saw it mentioned in Singapore media, where there is also some activity on this issue, with the Singapore government recently announcing [ early January 2017] resumption of golf courses near Jurong for new transport developments, to occur from 2018, hence their interest.

However, the Asian media more broadly quickly picked up on the Chinese moves with a number of articles appearing in on line searches.

The story goes somewhat like this - 

China has launched a renewed crackdown on golf, closing 111 courses in an effort to conserve water and land, and telling members of the ruling Communist Party to stay off the links.
The state-run Xinhua News Agency said Sunday the courses were closed for improperly using groundwater, arable land or protected land within nature reserves. It said authorities have imposed restrictions on 65 more courses.
China banned the development of new golf courses in 2004, when it had fewer than 200. Since that time, the number of courses has more than tripled.
Developers build courses under the guise of parks or other projects, often with the tacit approval of local officials. In one example chronicled by state media, an illegal golf course boasting 58 villas was originally built as a "public sports park," only to be secretly converted later. Many of China's cities, meanwhile, face severe land shortages and skyrocketing real estate prices.
Golf has also come under scrutiny by way of the sweeping anti-corruption campaign launched under Chinese President Xi Jinping. The ruling Communist Party warned its 88 million members in 2015 not to play golf, likening it to "extravagant eating and drinking" and other bad habits that were at odds with the party's stated principles. An editorial in the China Daily newspaper the following spring clarified that party cadres were not to take free memberships or rounds.

Golf boom beginning in '80s

China has veered over the years between rejecting and supporting golf. Amid a spirit of austerity and attacks on the country's former elites, Mao Zedong banned golf after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. One Shanghai golf course was turned into the city zoo.

Exactly when this occurs is unclear at this stage, but it seems it might be very soon!

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