Golf and gluttony in the rough as China tees off against graft

Thu Oct 22, 2015 12:12pm EDT
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BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's ruling Communist Party has listed golf and gluttony as violations for the first time as it tightens its rules to prevent officials from engaging in corrupt practices, while also turning an even sterner eye on sexual impropriety.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been driving a sweeping crackdown on deep-rooted graft since taking over the party's leadership in late 2012. Since then dozens of senior officials have been investigated or jailed.

Tales of graft and officials' high living, including extravagant banquets and expensive rounds on the golf course, have stirred widespread public anger because bureaucrats are meant to live on modest sums and lead morally exemplary lives.

The new rules update existing regulations and are designed to better codify what constitutes a violation of discipline, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Wednesday. They are applicable to all 88 million party members for the first time and also include a new ethical code.

"Party members must separate public and private interests, put the public's interest first, and work selflessly," the report said. Party members must also "champion simplicity and guard against extravagance".

"The new discipline regulation explicitly lists extravagant eating and drinking and playing golf as violations, which were not included previously," it said.

Explaining the new rules and underscoring golf's negative image, the party's corruption watchdog said on Thursday that golf was a game enjoyed by a former police chief who engaged in "massive" bribery. A vice mayor in a southeastern Chinese city was sacked this month for belonging to a golf club and playing the game when he should have been working.

IN THE ROUGH   Continued...

Chinese President Xi Jinping reacts as he is shown around the offices of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in London, Britain October 21, 2015.  REUTERS/Matthew Lloyd/Pool