China's communist party lifts ban on golf, sport now legal in country
Residential properties stand in the background as men play golf at Mission Hills Resort Haikou in Haikou, Hainan Province, China, on Saturday, April 5, 2014. The yuan is poised to recover from declines that have made it Asias worst-performing currency as China seeks to prevent an exodus of capital that would threaten economic growth, according to the most accurate forecasters. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Last year we told you about China's ongoing war on golf. Stemming back to the days of Mao Zedong, who once decreed that the game is "a sport for millionaires," the country has continually throttled efforts to grow golf, including banning party members from joining clubs and shutting down "illegal" courses.
However, the controlling communist party has made an about-face. The government-run newspaper Discipline Inspection and Supervision News said this week that the golf ban has been lifted. "Playing golf itself is not a wrongdoing," remarked the anti-corruption agency.
Party members are still forbidden from taking course memberships and other golf-related perks as gifts.
This is likely a response to China's increasing curiosity in the game. TIME reports that golf's return to the Olympics has spurred interest in the country. The performance of rising 18-year-old star Beijinger Jin Cheng, who played in last week's Masters, is another catalyst for the game's growing popularity.
You are using an unsupported version of Internet Explorer. Please upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 or use a different web browser.