How many free rounds have Mike and Zack received
from their 'friends' interested in taxpayer funded 'incentives''?
...in the southern province of Guangdong, home to the world's largest golf facility, the 12-course Mission Hills Golf Club, party officials have been forbidden to golf during work hours "to prevent unclean behavior and disciplinary or illegal conduct."
The provincial anticorruption agency has set up a hotline for reporting civil servants who violate nine specific regulations, including prohibitions on betting on golf, playing with people connected to one's job, traveling on golf-related junkets or holding positions on the boards of golf clubs.
"Like fine liquor and tobacco, fancy cars and mansions, golf is a public relations tool that businessmen use to hook officials," the newspaper of the party's antigraft agency declared on April 9. "The golf course is gradually changing into a muddy field where they trade money for power."
...the crackdown was not surprising given the game's reputation in China as a capitalist pastime and the extent of Mr. Xi's prolonged campaign against corruption, which has toppled senior party and military leaders.
..."Everyone's a potential target in this ongoing crackdown on corruption, and golf is a particularly easy and obvious one."
...When the Communist Party came to power in 1949, Mao Zedong condemned the game as a "sport for millionaires," and courses that had been built for foreigners were turned into public parks, zoos and communal farms.
...anticorruption investigators at the Ministry of Commerce announced that they had opened an inquiry into Wang Shenyang, director general of the ministry's Department of Outward Investment and Economic Cooperation, on suspicion of participating in activities sponsored by an unidentified company. Golf was the only activity specified.
The Legal Weekly, run by the Ministry of Justice, chimed in by publishing a list of 15 party officials who have been punished in the last decade for golf-related transgressions. It included Sun Guoqing, head of the Ministry of Transportation's planning department, who was suspected of using public funds to pay for rounds, and Han Jiang, a district official in Shenzhen, who was convicted of receiving nearly $1 million in bribes, the largest single portion of which was in the form of a membership to the Mission Hills Golf Club.
"Golf, because of its high cost and unique glamour, has been called the 'aristocrats' game,' " the newspaper said. "But an awkward truth is that because of 'rotten' golf, some officials have been punished or even jailed."
An art dealer in Beijing, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss illicit activity, said that many insider deals were made over rounds of golf. "When we play golf, we invite officials, too," he said. "This is not something ordinary people can afford."