World News

Chinese vice mayor sacked for playing golf

BEIJING (Reuters) - A vice mayor in a southeastern Chinese city has been sacked for belonging to a golf club and playing the game when he should have been working, state media said on Thursday, a move taken as part of a corruption crackdown.

Golf has come a long way in China since it was banned as a bourgeois excess by late leader Mao Zedong, with wealthy Chinese in particular seeing it as a way to affirm their status.

But it is linked in the minds of many in China with providing an opportunity for officials to make shady deals away from prying eyes and being an inappropriate activity for government employees who are meant to serve the people.

The official Xinhua news agency said Lin Chunsong, vice mayor of Wuyishan in Fujian province, belonged to a golf club but was paying much less than other members to play, Xinhua news agency said.

When a campaign against membership of private clubs for provincial officials kicked off in 2013, he changed the name of his membership to somebody else and carried on playing, the report said.

Between June 18, 2013, and August 16, 2015, Lin played 163 rounds of golf at his club, 12 of which were during work hours, Xinhua said, citing a report from the local anti-graft watchdog.

He has now been sacked for breaching anti-corruption and clean government rules, it added.

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.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie