Believe in socialism not sorcery, China tells party members

Chen Xi, leading Communist party figure, says members becoming politically and morally ‘degraded’ and looking to religion and superstition
 
The Guardian
Date: 16 November 2017
By: Tom Phillips in Beijing

One of China’s top leaders has chastised Communist party cadres for putting “ghosts and gods”

Tibetan monks dressed as demons attend the Beating Ghost festival in Beijing. A top minister has chastised officials for believing in ghosts and gods. Photograph: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

before Marx and Lenin.

Writing in the party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, Chen Xi accusedsome officials of becoming politically and morally “degraded” and of looking to religion, superstition and – perhaps even worse – western-style multi-party democracy as their faith in socialism faded.

“Some don’t believe in Marx and Lenin but believe in ghosts and gods; they don’t believe in ideals but believe in sorcery; they don’t respect the people but do respect masters,” wrote Chen, who was last month handed a spot on China’s 25-member Politburo.

He added: “As Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out … cadres need to be both red and professional.”

Members of the officially atheist Communist party have always been required to shun religion. However, activists say hostility to religion has intensified since Xi Jinping became China’s leader in 2012 and began clamping down on potential sources of opposition.

Chen’s article follows reports that Christians in the eastern province of Jiangxi were being told to rid their homes of images of Jesus and the cross and replace them with portraits of Xi.
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