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Believe in socialism not sorcery, China tells party members
World | society | 12:58, 16 November 2017 | 986
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

AKIPRESS.COM - One of China’s top leaders has chastised Communist party cadres for putting “ghosts and gods” before Marx and Lenin, The Guardianreported.

Writing in the party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, Chen Xi accused some 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.

Qi Yan, a local official, told the South China Morning Post the move – which has already seen some 1,000 Xi portraits handed out and hung – was part of an anti-poverty drive that seeks to convince misguided believers that Xi and his political disciples could improve their lot, not the son of God.

“Many rural people are ignorant. They think God is their saviour,” Qi said. “After our cadres’ work they’ll realise their mistakes and think: ‘We should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help.’”

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