China’s top graft buster has turned ‘Ghostbuster’ as he warned members of the ruling Communist Party to stop believing in the supernatural.
Wang Qishan, one of Beijing’s top officials, said cadres should stick to the teachings of Marx, rather than shady spiritual gurus who preach about superstitious beliefs.
China’s Communist Party has been seeking to wipe out belief in the paranormal since before it seized power in 1949, and campaigns have increased in recent years.
“Currently, some Communist Party members don't believe in Marxism-Leninism but they believe in ghosts and supernatural beings,” said Mr Wang, who head’s the party’s graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).
“They don't believe in the organisation, but choose to believe in "Masters", added the official, referring to those who teach supernatural or superstitious customs, who often carry great influence among Chinese leaders.
Mr Wang apparently made the comments in late October in a speech at the opening ceremony of a meeting of an advisory body, but it was only reported in an influential party journal this week.
Many of the thousands of officials who have been imprisoned in a wide-ranging anti-corruption drive led by Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, have also been charged with holding superstitious beliefs.
A directive on the party’s website promises the regime will “firmly crackdown on those who used superstition to damage national interests, social stability and people’s life and property”.
The prevalence of irrational beliefs is an embarrassment for the officially atheist Communist Party as it seeks to modernise China in accordance with its own brand of Marxism.
In March, an official in Shaanxi province was expelled from the party after he was found to be participating in an “evil cult” which claimed to be able to cure diseases.
“He should have believed in science and led the locals in gaining wealth,” said a disciplinary official.