Opinion / Opinion Line

Don't pursue feng shui with public funds

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-28 07:49

Chen Hongping, the former Party secretary of Jieyang city in South China's Guangdong province, who was expelled from the Party and sacked from his post two years ago for taking bribes, reportedly spent 3.5 million yuan ($564,180) of public money on a mausoleum according to feng shui principles for himself. The superstitious official even encouraged his juniors to learn more about feng shui and apply it to local urban planning. Comments:

The most noteworthy fact in Chen's case is the lack of proper supervision over some local governments it revealed; his being superstitious is secondary. His case once again shows that the power exercised by public officials may end up harming society unless it is locked in the "cage". To free officials of superstition, it is important to supervise and cage their power.

Liu Xuesong, a guest commentator with Beijing Times, April 27

Apparently, the abuse of power by Chen is more dangerous than his personal obsession with feng shui. Had he been put under effective supervision and restrictions as a public servant, he would not have been able to either embezzle public funds or get his superstitious urban planning ideas approved. Therefore, measures should be taken to rid local officials of superstitious beliefs and prevent them from abusing their powers.

Song Guangyu, a guest commentator with, April 26

The new revelation against Chen shows how important and urgent it is to regulate the power exercised by local officials. In particular, institutional and legal restrictions should be strictly imposed to keep local officials from intervening in specific projects, such as infrastructure construction.

Shi Xin, a columnist with, April 27

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