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City official denounced for turning to spirit world

The northern city of Tianjin recently issued a circular to its bureaucrats denouncing a senior official for sucuumbing to “superstition”.

According to the city’s Discipline Committee, Lu Fuchun, a former district party head, began acting strangely after failing to win two key positions. Lu then spent hundreds of thousands of yuan on a Buddha statue, wore lucky amulets and had fortune-telling charts printed on the back of government directives.

Lu, 52, was put under investigation early this year for a “serious violation of discipline”, which usually refers to corruption. He was expelled from the party and from his government positions on September 1.

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Before his disgrace, Lu had been rising up the bureaucratic ladder quickly, and was once regarded as a candidate for Tianjin vice-mayor and as one of the alternate members of the Central Committee of the party.

However, failing to be promoted to these positions was a big blow to Lu, who then turned to the spirit world, the disciplinary watchdog said.

He reportedly also supported the reconstruction of an ancient Buddhist temple and made inquires about his career future with a feng shui master.

The Communist Party prohibits its members from practising religion.

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The circular sent out by the Tianjin disciplinary authority described Lu as very ambitious, claiming that he had subordinates play chess with him until late at night in order to fool his colleagues into thinking that he worked around the clock.

He is also accused of taking millions of yuan from local entrepreneurs in exchange for getting them projects or bank loans, and of violating party discipline by having sex outside his marriage.

Last week, former Hubei party boss Li Hongzhong was named the party chief in Tianjin, days after its acting party secretary and mayor Huang Xingguo was placed under investigation for corruption.