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China scratches 66 golf courses over environment and corruption concerns

China closed 66 illegal golf courses in its latest efforts to clamp down on corruption and environmental degradation.
 
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic regulator, published a list of golf courses that were shut down for being “illegal.”

China banned construction of new golf courses in 2004 to protect farmland and water resources, and to prevent collusion between government officials and developers to seize land from local residents.

Despite the government ban, golf courses proliferated at resorts and in suburbs across the country. The number of golf courses jumped from 178 in 2004 to 521 in 2013, according to a survey conducted last year.

State-owned Hongta Tobacco Group and other state companies were found to have developed golf courses without government approvals.

Luxury golf club memberships are a popular bribe offered to government officials, state-run Legal Weekly said.

Wang Shenyang, head of the Commerce Ministry’s cooperation department, was placed under investigation last month for playing golf at the invitation of a company. Last year, Guangdong province banned party officials from playing golf during office hours.

Sources: CNN, Legal Weekly (法治周末), Telegraph

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Hui Zhi is the Senior Manager for Content with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.

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