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China: Christians Compelled to Honor Deceased Communist Party Leader Jiang Zemin

For background on Orthodox Christianity in China, see here.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in China, see here.

“Chinese Christians Compelled to Honor Deceased CCP Leader Jiang Zemin,” by Zhang Chunhua, Bitter Winter, December 16, 2022:

Jiang Zemin, who was the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 1989 to 2002, and the President of the People’s Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, died on November 30, 2022.

He was greatly honored by Xi Jinping and the CCP, which is of course not surprising. More surprising is that the government-controlled Three-Self Church, the only legal Protestant body in the country, called all Christians to remember and commemorate him. On December 6, national leaders of the Three-Self Church gathered in Shanghai to watch together the Memorial Conference for Jiang Zemin. Instructions to do the same were sent to all churches nationwide.

The Three-Self Church honored Jiang as “a great Marxist we all love and miss.” Pastor Kan Baoping, the Vice Chairman of the China Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee, explained that Jiang did “a good job in religious work” and started the “Sinicization of Christianity” now completed by Xi Jinping. According to Pastor Kan, Jiang’s work on religion was “extremely instructive for the development of the United Front Work and has played a huge role in how to do a good job in the United Front Work in the new era.”

While Christians may surely pray for all deceased, it is a different matter to ask Christian communities to remember Jiang for his “good job” about religion….

Jiang’s religious policy was summarized in the “Three Sentences” (三句话): enforce Party policies on religion, strengthen control of religion, and actively lead the adaptation of religion and socialism. He also stated that religions supporting “separatism” or the independence of Taiwan were forbidden, thus increasing the repression of Tibetan Buddhists, Xinjiang Muslims, and Christian religious movements headquartered in Taiwan….

Jiang was just another Communist CCP leader. Although perhaps less violent than Xi Jinping in his struggle to eradicate “illegal” religion, he was not less firm in the surveillance of religions and punishment of all religious dissent, as his brutal persecution of Falun Gong demonstrated. That Christian believers are asked to celebrate his “good job in religious work” only confirms that the Three-Self Church is acting more and more as a simple propaganda mouthpiece of the CCP.

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