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Feng shui carried too far (3)

By Zhang Zhilong (Global Times)

08:48, January 20, 2012

50 percent are superstitious

"Members of the Communist Party of China are supposed to be atheists and should only believe in Marxism-Leninism, but in reality some of them are not," said Cheng Ping, a professor with Department of Social and Cultural Studies with the Chinese Academy of Governance. In fact atheism is a founding principle of the Party and remains a requirement for Party membership.

Cheng's 2006 survey of 900 county-level civil servants about their superstitious beliefs found that 52.4 percent believed or somewhat believed in superstition. Many respondents said they were more likely to believe in superstition if they were told of imminent bad luck or a pending disaster.

"The same psychological conditions exist in those who believe in superstition and feng shui. People, including officials, believe it works just in case it's true," said Cheng, suggesting that many people feel they must hedge their bets as insurance against bad luck.

The sixth survey on science literacy, released by the Chinese Science Research Institute in 2007 found that 21 percent of the public say they believe in feng shui.

"It is very complicated. Some officials believe in these things for three main reasons: influence of traditional Chinese culture, historic culture of officialdom, and the system used to choose and promote officials," said Cheng.

"Being an official is a high-risk occupation," said Cheng, suggesting that many believe their careers are determined by fate, not by the work or the efforts they make.

"Party members have vowed to be loyal to communism, it is obviously inappropriate for them to have other beliefs," said Cheng, who believes it is an urgent issue to study how to integrate a diversified society into the unified guiding ideology of Marxism-Leninism.

"Along with feng shui some officials pay too much attention to things they shouldn't," said Cheng, adding that some officials studying at her academy are often more interested in learning strategies and tactics that will make them popular rather than developing a deep understanding of the science of governance.

Cheng says this shows that the country's push and emphasis on scientific development, still have a long way to go.

Not everyone agrees that feng shui and political leadership are incompatible.

"Understanding feng shui must be separated from political concepts," said Yu Xixian, a retired professor with School of Environment at Peking University, who in the 1980s taught a course on feng shui. Yu says feng shui is misunderstood when people use it for political purposes or personal gain.

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Atheism needs to remain a principle of the Party and a requirement for Party membership.
  

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