China: Luxury clubs ordered to close amid anti-corruption drive

A waiter in a Beijing nightclub A waiter in one of Beijing's luxury clubs

Authorities in Beijing have ordered the closure of some of the city's most exclusive clubs, it's reported.

The move comes as part of a government drive to eradicate corruption and extravagance among officials, Chinese media say.

Each of the two dozen high-end clubs that have sprung up in the Chinese capital's public parks have been ordered to close or "downgrade to an acceptable level", official news agency Xinhua reports. They must also leave the parks once their leases expire.

In one club, Yushantang, in Beihai Park, a single dish can cost more than $1,600 - two months' salary for the average local worker - Xinhua reported. "The meals there are meant for officials and the wealthy, not for us," one Beijing resident exercising in front of the club told the agency.

According to the state-run People's Daily newspaper, government officials found to have frequented the clubs will be severely punished. The Communist Party now requires all officials in Beijing to sign an agreement promising not to enter or join them.

South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based paper, also reported public anger that some clubs were located in historic buildings. Examples include the Yushantang Club, which is housed in a 270-year-old structure, and a hall in Beijing's ancient Forbidden City, which was converted into a luxury members-only club.

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