In a further development of the anti-graft campaign announced by Xi Jinping shortly after he formally assumed the presidency in March 2013, Wang Qishan — chief of the Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection — demanded that officials in the state’s disciplinary and supervisory systems hand in all VIP membership cards (huiyuanka 会员卡 or huisuoka 会所卡). Businesses offering luxury goods and services, including golf clubs, restaurants and spas, issue such VIP cards. Charged up with money like a debit card or gift voucher, the cards may be used to enjoy services at the clubs, or sold: shops adjacent to such venues may advertise that they ‘accept cards’ — meaning they will buy them for resale. Their value can reach into millions of yuan. Whether exchanged for money or used for goods and services, the cards allow for cashless bribes. The clubs that offer them, often unmarked and hidden behind high walls, additionally provide a private venue for backroom deals as well as the enjoyment of prostitutes and other entertainments.
At a teleconference held by the Commission on 27 May 2013, Wang said that the ‘VIP card’ campaign sends a signal to the Party and society that anti-graft officials are serious about improving their ‘work style’ (zuofeng 作风). Wang also noted that the campaign is a prelude to the Party’s Action to Implement Mass Line Education (Qunzhong luxian jiaoyu shijian huodong 群众路线教育实践活动), and that disciplinary officials must rectify their own behaviour first.
The campaign is described as an Action to Eradicate VIP Cards (huiyuanka zhuanxiang qingtui huodong 会员卡专项清退活动). The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection issued a circular to officials setting the deadline of 20 June 2013 for officials to hand in all their cards.