China to prosecute former official "obsessed with divination"
China will prosecute a former official who was "obsessed with divination" for corruption, the top graft-buster said on Thursday, in the latest warning to bureaucrats not to engage with what the Communist Party views as superstition.
Wu Dehua, who worked in the southwestern city of Chongqing's Yubei district, had been expelled from the party and handed over to legal authorities after a probe found serious discipline violations, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said on its website.
He was also accused of taking bribes, spreading political rumors, exchanging power for money and money for sex, and collecting "reactionary magazines".
It was not possible to reach Wu or a representative for comment and unclear if he had been allowed to retain a lawyer.
China officially guarantees freedom of religion for major belief systems, but party members are meant to be atheists and are especially banned from participating in what China calls superstitious practices like visiting soothsayers.
However, Chinese people, especially the country's leaders, have a long tradition of putting their faith in soothsaying and geomancy, looking for answers in times of doubt, need and chaos.
The practice has grown riskier amid Xi's sweeping crackdown on deep-seated corruption.
In one of the most famous recent cases, China's powerful former security chief, Zhou Yongkang, was jailed for life in part due to accusations he leaked undisclosed state secrets to a fortune teller and healer called Cao Yongzheng, known as the "Xinjiang sage" after the far western region where he grew up.
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