Chinese Officials Embrace Feng Shui Amid Job Worries
May 18, 2007 | 1,643
They paid handsome fees to the masters, who help choose offices facing auspicious directions, reposition furniture or place talismans to ward off "evil spirits" from competitors, the Southern Weekend newspaper said.
Local governments at different levels in China began a round of leadership reshuffles late last year marked by sweeping retirements and reappointments.
"I've received more than 30 clients in the past six months," the newspaper quoted a feng shui master in Hangzhou in the eastern province of Zhejiang as saying.
One senior Zhejiang official moved his ancestors' tombs thousands of miles to the foot of the famed Tian Shan mountain in the northwestern region of Xinjiang in an attempt to improve his career prospects, the newspaper said.
Feng shui is the ancient Chinese knowledge of geomancy with a basic premise that one's environment profoundly influences life. It was banned as a superstition after the Communist Party took power in 1949 and is still questioned by many.
Uncertainties about promotions or demotions in a closed political system where connections are vital fuel anxiety among Chinese officials, who in turn resort to such practices as feng shui, the Southern Weekend said.
With confidentiality in mind, the officials hire only non-local feng shui masters, who stand to make up to 100,000 yuan ($13,000) a year from a single client, it said. The average income of China's urban residents was about 10,000 yuan in 2006.
The revival of the popularity of feng shui comes at a time when the Communist Party's "revolutionary theories" can no longer explain today's reality, said Wang Changjiang, a professor at the Central Party School.