Tue, Mar 06, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Chinese premier tees off against elitist golf courses

AP , BEIJING

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) took a swipe at golf yesterday, saying the government would enforce a ban on golf course development on agricultural land.

Wen singled out golf courses in a speech to the national legislature's annual opening session, saying they wasted land that should be kept for growing crops. The session sets out the government's priorities for the upcoming year.

China's central government has attempted to ban golf course development on agricultural land, but orders have often been ignored.

"We will resolutely control the amount of land used for construction ... in particular, land will not be allowed to be used to build individual houses, golf courses and new training centers for party and government organs," Wen said.

The brief mention of golf in a speech mainly devoted to education and health care reform underscores the sport's elitist image in China.

Despite the communist government's disapproval, the country holds a half-dozen major tournaments annually that draw top players including world No. 1 Tiger Woods.

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