Xi Jinping is unlikely to follow the example of Japans prime minister, who joined Trump on the green: China long banned the sport for millionaires
When Donald Trump hosted Shinzo Abe at his opulent Florida resort, the two men bonded over a round of golf, in which the US president deployed a $ 3,755 gold-plated club the Japanese “ministers ” had given him.
Such scenes are unlikely to be repeated the coming week, when Trump hosts his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump has come under flame for spending more hour on the golf course than handling affairs of state, but his Chinese counterpart is unlikely to partake in what Mao Zedong decried as a athletic for millionaires.
For years, golf was banned as a bourgeois indulgence and more recently, Chinas 85 million Communist party members were forbidden from playing the sport amid a broad crackdown on corruption.
The regulation was later lifted as long as cadres hit the links at their own expense. In one notorious suit, a senior commerce ministry official was removed from office for using public fund to play golf.
I think theres a long listing of things that Donald Trump will not be able to get Xi Jinping to do, and Id set playing golf close to the top, said Dan Washburn, author of The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream.
The last, and only, Chinese leader to be open about his golfing habit was in power back in the 1980 s, and he spent the last 15 years of his life under house arrest.
The government has shuttered a sixth of the countrys golf courses since 2011, amid an ongoing crackdown on graft that has ensure thousands of officials sacked.
Membership fees at courses are often several times the annual salary of even high-level cadres.
The lack of golf will stand in stark contrast to Trumps summit with Abe, which included some three hours on the golf links as well as an improvised response to a Northern korean rocket test. Japan and China are major regional challengers and it is unlikely Trumps meeting with Xi will replicate the chummy ambiance of Abes visit.
Observers say Trump is hoping to re-create the mood of a meeting Xi had with Barack Obama in 2013 in California, where the two men shed their ties, suit jackets and handlers for stroll on the grounds of the Sunnylands retreat. Xi was not seen on the 18 holes at that meeting.