Beijing will intensify its crackdown on illegal golf course construction.
In an effort to upgrade its industrial layout, Beijing recently released a list of industries that are either banned or restricted from new construction inside the city.
The move will put a cap on heavily polluting, water and energy consuming industries, making room for high-end industries.
For example, Beijing will restrict the construction of hotels, office buildings and exhibition centers, and prohibit the construction of golf courses, higher education institutes and big hospitals in the city center.
Although China banned building golf courses in 2004, new construction continues under the guise of agricultural demonstration parks and ecological tour villages. It's reported that Beijing alone has over 200 illegal golf courses.
The craze for golf courses is profit-driven. Property developers could raise the added value of surrounding plots and earn money through the courses. Local governments, anxious to raise their GDPs, rely on the construction to speed up urbanization and develop local tourism.
Golf courses occupy farmland and consume lots of water and other resources. It's estimated that the water every 60 golf courses consume yearly is enough for one million people. They may even pollute groundwater by using pesticides to keep the grass tidy.
Beijing is trying to step up its law enforcement. In May, the city government demolished two golf courses claiming nearly 60 hectares of farmland. The list, which will go into effect soon, will further stress the ban on such construction.