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China: Christians forced to choose state benefits or faith, told “You are allowed to worship Xi Jinping only”

Persecution of Christians in China: this line from the story below is telling: “Officials threatened one of the women to revoke her subsistence allowance if she continued believing in God. ‘You are allowed to worship Xi Jinping only,’ the elderly believer was pressured.”

Clearly the Chinese government is deeply threatened by Christianity and views it as a serious challenge to its power. That government is consequently in the midst of an all-out campaign to turn Christianity into a weak religion that is entirely subservient to the Chinese Communist Party, and that doesn’t teach anything that would lead Chinese people away from Communist Party dogma.

This is a matter of grave concern for Orthodox Christians in China and all other Christians as well. The Chinese Orthodox Church is in a vulnerable position, as it is not one of the Christian groups recognized by the Chinese government. The Chinese government’s war against religious images also threatens the icons in Orthodox churches and homes.

Holy Orthodoxy in China predates this war on Christianity. It has a three-hundred year history in China, with the first Orthodox Christians coming into the country in 1685. In the 1980s, the Chinese Orthodox Church began to experience a revival. Pray that it not be snuffed out. The Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, requests once again that the Chinese government end these repressive measures, grant official recognition to the Chinese Orthodox Church, and give full religious freedom to all the Christians of that nation.

See ChristianPersecution.com’s previous coverage of China and its war on Christianity here.

“Christians Forced to Choose Between State Benefits and Faith,” by Tang Zhe, Bitter Winter, February 8, 2020:

Ever since President Xi Jinping took office, his portraits and quotes started invading places of worship and even believers’ homes, pushing his personality cult to unprecedented levels. People are also threatened to have their poverty alleviation and other government aid removed if they don’t replace religious symbols with portraits of Xi Jinping or Mao Zedong. Bitter Winter continues to receive more such reports.

In Fenyi county of the southeastern province of Jiangxi, Caochang township officials came to the home of a Three-Self church member on December 27, 2019. They forced the believer of more than 30 years to replace two religion-themed pictures with a portrait of Xi Jinping.

Village officials visited the woman’s home several times to ensure that she doesn’t host religious meetings or read the Bible, threatening to revoke her subsistence allowance if she does.

In June, government officials tore down a picture with the cross from a wall in the home of a 60-year-old believer in Fenyi county’s Dongcun township. They threw it into a trash bin and posted portraits of Xi Jinping and other CCP leaders in its place.

“The government is imposing stricter and stricter control over religion. I’m afraid we won’t be able to attend Sunday service in our Three-Self church,” a local churchgoer said worriedly.

Believers in the eastern province of Shandong face similar suppression. On November 15, government officials raided a Three-Self meeting venue, spanning the history of more than 40 years, in Heze city-administered Shan county. They forced their way inside when no one was there and replaced a painting depicting Jesus and embroidery of the cross, displayed in the center of a wall in the hall, with a Xi Jinping portrait. The officials threw away the religious paintings and moved all the tables and chairs into the courtyard.

The next day, they returned to the venue again, threatening to demolish the building if the owner continued renting it to the church and ordered him “not to praise Jesus but the Communist Party because it supports his livelihood.” “You must listen to the Party and follow it forever and ever,” the officials warned before leaving.

In December, two more elderly believers in Shan county had paintings depicting Jesus replaced with images of Xi Jinping. Officials threatened one of the women to revoke her subsistence allowance if she continued believing in God. “You are allowed to worship Xi Jinping only,” the elderly believer was pressured….

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