BEIJING -- The Chinese Communist Party has called on high-ranking cadres to shun superstitious practices and promote science in what is seen as a continuing campaign to quash the influence of a controversial sect.
The party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, yesterday condemned practices like fortune telling, feng shui or geomancy and worship of gods.
The commentary was the second one by the newspaper in three days this week.
It is understood that the authorities have been compiling lists of names of Falungong followers in the government, the party, the military and security agencies.
They have also been drawing up a list of names of cadres who took part in the April 25 mass protest by 10,000 Falungong followers outside Zhongnanhai, the seat of the central government.
The authorities are trying to track down Falungong leaders in Beijing who mastermind the sect's activities, sources said.
Yesterday's commentary said: "As science develops from day to day, ... what is incomprehensible is that there are some party cadres, including even top-ranking cadres, who also take part in such activities.
"For instance, in some areas, when roads or buildings are constructed, they invite geomancers to divine the place; some cadres consult fortune tellers when they encounter difficult periods; and some cadres make offerings to all sorts of gods in their homes," it added.
Warning that such beliefs had exerted very negative influence on the people, the newspaper questioned whether superstitious cadres were in fact fit to lead.
It said: "The harm and damage done to the people and to society by superstitious activities, whatever their form should not be underestimated.
"Superstitions corrupt people's minds, break down the people's spirit, shake their faith, damage cohesiveness and cause endless harm."
The commentary, however, made no specific reference to the Falungong sect.
THE Falungong sect bars followers from consulting doctors.
Last week, the government called on its members not to become pawns in attempts by some elements to disrupt social stability.