A top-level private club in the heart of Beijing has been demolished after 20 years of operation.
The demise of China Club, run by Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang Wing-cheung, is said to be the result of President Xi Jinping’s campaign against corruption and lavish lifestyles, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing a post on a Weibo account.
It was located inside a 100,000 square meter property in Beijing’s Xidan district that has been classified as a protected heritage site. That being the case, the operation of a clubhouse in the area is forbidden by law.
The clubhouse occupied a 17th century palace built by the son of Emperor Kangxi. It followed the structure of siheyuan, a courtyard surrounded by four buildings, commonly seen throughout ancient China.
The site was once transformed into a restaurant specializing in Sichuan cuisine, and former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping used to be one of its regular guests.
In 1995, David Tang leased the place and spent US$8 million to transform it into one of the four premier private clubs in the Chinese capital.
Tang is the founder of fashion chain Shanghai Tang and the grandson of Tang Shiu-kin, one of Hong Kong’s famous philanthropists.
China Club, which could accommodate 250 guests, had three main halls, 17 rooms and a bar. It was a favorite haunt of politicians, tycoons, visiting dignitaries, movie stars and other celebrities.
Its guests included foreign VIPs such as former French President Jacques Chirac and former US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
With the dimming of the glittering lights at the clubhouse, only the memories of its glamorous parties and celebrations remain.
A court has auctioned off most of its furniture while unmovable items have all been demolished, according to Apple Daily.
A security guard at the property told Sing Tao Daily that pressure from the government’s anti-corruption campaign had weighed heavily on the clubhouse’s operations, especially in view of the fact that the site is quite close to Zhongnanhai, the central headquarters for the Communist Party and the State Council.
However, the clubhouse may not be gone for good. According to the guard, its manager is planning to move to another location.
Aside from its Beijing flagship, China Club operates two other units in Hong Kong and Singapore.
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