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Chinese Communists Ban Gluttony, Adultery, Moon Cakes, and Golf

The Chinese Communist Party has tightened up discipline on its 88 million members by banning several sinful activities, including extravagant eating and drinking, abuse of power, nepotism, adultery, and golf.

The report comes from the state-run Xinhua news agency, as translated by the BBC, which notes that the Communist Party “has in the past warned its officials to refrain from extravagant dinners and purchasing moon cakes using public funds.”

Moon cakes are a Chinese pastry, filled with salted egg yolk and sweet lotus paste, traditionally consumed during the Mid-Autumn Festival. As the BBC previously reported, the Communist Party believed corrupt officials were using public money to splurge on moon cakes and other entertainments during the festival. The prohibition against excessive drinking and eating is apparently another reaction to the abuse of public funds to pay for such indulgences.

As for the ban on golf, the BBC report notes the game is seen as a symbol of decadent opulence by the Communists, a distaste that dates back to Mao Zedong’s reign. This made golf into a desirable forbidden-fruit status symbol for latter-day wealthy Chinese.

“Spurred by China’s rapid economic growth and soaring living standards, golf is now enjoying an explosion in popularity in the world’s second-largest economy with a number of golf courses being built in recent years, despite the country’s ban on golf course construction due to land use concerns,” Xinhua complained in May. The total number of golf courses in the country tripled between 2004 and 2009, even though only ten of the new courses were government-approved.

One reason for the current crackdown is that exclusive golf courses are thought to be used by corrupt officials to cut back-room deals. A sporadically-enforced ban on golf course construction has been in effect since 2004. Last spring, the government began moving against golf more aggressively, closing down 66 illegal courses.

“Earlier this month, Lin Chunsong, a vice-mayor in the south-eastern Fujian province, was sacked for belonging to a golf club and playing golf while he should have been at work,” the BBC recalls. A Reuters report clarifies that Lin was said to have played 163 rounds of golf over the past two years, 12 of them during work hours, at a club that charged him suspiciously lower fees than its other customers.

“Since President Xi Jinping began his sweeping campaign against corruption, waste and extravagance three years ago, the government has released details of the sometimes luxurious lives of officials who are supposed to live on modest sums and lead morally exemplary lives,” Reuters notes.

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