Officials suspended over illegal land use for golf courses in SW China

13:28, May 16, 2011      

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Two officials in southwest China's Yunnan Province have been suspended after a local country club was found to be illegally renting farmland for the construction of golf courses, local authorities said.

The club, which has three golf courses near the famed Stone Forest karst field in Yunnan's Shilin Yi Autonomous County, was accused of illegally renting arable land from farmers to build new golf courses. The karst field is a popular tourist attraction in the area.

Gao Yunhua, deputy director of the Stone Forest's tourist zone management committee and Duan Mingzong, an official with the county's development and reform commission, were suspended from their posts and are under investigation, said a spokesman with the county's information office on Monday.

Gao claimed that he did not think the project was illegal, as it could raise tax revenues and increase local employment, according to a CCTV report on the case.

China imposed a ban on the construction of new golf courses in 2004 to protect the country's shrinking land resources.

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