China’s top graft buster is warning all members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to cease their superstitious beliefs, or else face the consequences.
In an undated speech republished in a Party journal, Wang Qishan, Politburo Standing Committee member and Secretary of China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), told CCP members to stop engaging in practices that are “diametrically opposed” to the Party.
“At present, some party members and officials don’t believe in Marxism-Leninism and believe in ghosts and supernatural beings. They don’t believe in the organization but believe in ‘masters,'” Wang said, referring to individuals thought of as religious leaders, according to Reuters.
Although all Chinese citizens have the freedom to practice religion, China is officially an atheist state. CCP members are expected not to be religious or practice superstitious beliefs. Recently, they have been reminded more and more of that expectation.
Earlier this year, superstition was outright banned by the CCP. Members caught participating in superstitious activities will receive a warning, while organizers could be expelled from the Party, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency. Even before that, Party members were warned against engaging in “feudal superstition,” as seen in rules stemming back from 2003.
And yet, CCP members have been repeatedly implicated in prohibited practices.
“Superstitious activities” was one of the reasons provided for the August expulsion of Wang Bao’an, the former head of China’s statistic’s bureau. The same goes for Liu Zhigeng, the former deputy governor of Guangdong province, who was kicked out back in April. Likewise, Ningxia official Bai Xueshan’s fervent belief in fengshui led to his expulsion from the Party last December.
The highest official to be implicated in superstitious activities is Zhou Yongkang. Zhou was jailed for life last year after having been accused of revealing state secrets to a fortune teller, among other crimes.
Wang Qishan may be cracking down on ideological weaknesses in the Party, but CCP members aren’t the only ones with superstitious beliefs.
A black swan sculpture was quickly removed from a Beijing shopping mall and transported to an undisclosed location last week after it debuted right across the street from China’s Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). Although no official explanation was given, a “black swan” is known in financial circles as a “highly unpredictable event with far-reaching ramifications.”
Simply put, it’s exactly what a superstitious financial investor doesn’t want to be reminded of when looking out the window, like the two cartoon “bear” statues that also mysterious disappeared outside the CSRC this past June.
China’s top media watchdog also isn’t a fan of the supernatural. Official guidelines dictating which films will get regulatory approval for the Chinese market prevent the release of any movies that “promote cults or superstition.” Some pointed to this rule when the Ghostbusters reboot was barred from Chinese cinemas earlier this year. However, there appears to a Benedict Cumberbatch exception to this regulation, considering Doctor Strange’s $44.5 million opening weekend in China.
Meanwhile, the only kind of ghosts we’re afraid of are the kind that come to your door late at night and smear shit and piss on it.
If there’s something strange in you neighborhood,
Who you gonna call? China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection!
By Charles Liu
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