Beijing: China`s ruling Communist Party is battling growing trend of superstition among its rank, deviating from the principles of atheism which formed the core of party`s Marxist ideology.
A growing trend of belief in superstition and religion among some members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is a `dangerous phenomenon and a betrayal of the public interest`, China Daily quoted Chinese political experts as saying.
Despite decades of economic reforms CPC still swears by dialectical materialism and the party repeatedly stated that its 85 million members are prohibited from believing in religion or participating in religious activities.
Those who refuse to adhere to the rules are usually persuaded to withdraw from the party which has monopolised power for 64 years.
Several officials some of whom have been found guilty of massive corruption frequently visited fortune-tellers or based their decisions on horoscopes, the daily report said.
This included former railways minister Liu Zhijun, who was given a suspended death sentence in July for accepting bribes and abusing his power.
He admitted to holding a deep belief in feng shui, the practice of promoting harmony between humans and the natural environment.
Although his position as a member of the CPC required him to be an atheist, he regularly invited feng shui masters to help him choose auspicious dates to commence and complete major projects, the daily report said.
Another official Song Chenguang in Jiangxi province, who received the death penalty with a two-year reprieve in 2012 after being found guilty of accepting bribes is also reported to have visited a fortune-teller for advice on political decisions.
In a study that focused on 103 convicted senior officials, Professor Tian Guoliang of the CPC School discovered that some corrupt officials turned to superstitious practices in the hope they would help to prevent their crimes from being discovered.
"These examples reflect an absence of belief (in
Communism) in some members of our Party," said Wei Qingyuan, a professor at the China Executive Leadership Academy.
"This kind of behaviour betrays the public interest and trust, and should cause alarm bells to ring," he said.
Han Guizhi, former head of the top advisory body of Heilongjiang province, who was given a suspended death penalty in 2005 for accepting bribes had a room specially designed to hold three statues of Buddha and paid frequent visits to the Jile Temple in Harbin, the provincial capital.
According to media reports, during her detention in Beijing, Han often faced the wall and asked, "Buddha, why don`t you bless me?"
And it`s not just officials. Belief in superstition and religion is also increasing and spreading among rank-and-file of party members.
"Drastic remedies are called for. Without them, even the measures that require Party members to confirm their belief in Communism will not be enough to stop people secretly turning to other belief systems," Xiao Tangbiao, a professor at the School of Government at Nanjing University said.