October 27, 2014 / 9:33 AM / 3 years ago

China bans private clubs in parks, historical buildings in graft crackdown

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has banned private clubs in historical buildings, parks and other public facilities because they are hindering the fight against corruption, state media said on Monday, as the government broadens its anti-graft and frugality campaigns.

Private clubs have been a particular target of President Xi Jinping's sweeping battle against deep-seated corruption due to their reputation in China as places where shady dealings or sexual liaisons are carried out by an extravagant elite.

"Private clubs set up in historical buildings and parks have damaged public interests, fanned corruption and triggered strong discontent among society," the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a Communist Party statement.

High-end restaurants, gyms, spas and hotels are also banned from opening in historical buildings or parks, the report added.

"Officials will be held accountable for their negligence and misconduct ... the public resources of historical sites and parks must be put under public supervision," Xinhua said.

Earlier this month the former party boss of the southern city of Guangzhou was expelled from the party after being accused of extortion, bribery and visiting such private clubs.

The party late last year already banned officials from belonging to or visiting private clubs.

State media have carried lurid tales of the goings-on in such clubs and the huge amounts of money charged for ostentatious meals in luxurious surroundings, all at odds with Xi's other campaign for official frugality and for officials to show they are no different from ordinary people.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ryan Woo

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