China’s top paper warns party officials against ‘spiritual anesthesia’

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s top newspaper warned Communist Party officials on Thursday not to “pray to God and worship Buddha”, because communism is about atheism and superstition is at the root of many corrupt officials who fall from grace.

China officially guarantees freedom of religion for major belief systems like Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, but party members are meant to be atheists and are especially banned from participating in what China calls superstitious practices like visiting soothsayers.

The party’s official People’s Daily said in a commentary it had not been uncommon over the past few years to see officials taken down for corruption to have also participated in “feudalistic superstitious activities”.

“In fact, some officials often go to monasteries, pray to God and worship Buddha,” it said. “Some officials are obsessed with rubbing shoulders with masters, fraternizing with them as brothers and becoming their lackeys and their money-trees.”

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