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China: Churches Told to Worship the Chinese Communist Party or Face Closure

Persecution of Christians in China: it is clear from the measures outlined in the article below that 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 simply another venue for the propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party.

The Chinese Orthodox Church is in a vulnerable position amid all this, as it is not one of the Christian groups recognized by the Chinese government. 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.

“Churches Told to Worship the CCP or Face Closure,” by An Xin, Bitter Winter, November 18, 2020:

The religious affairs department of Putian, a prefecture-level city in the southeastern province of Fujian, spent 500,000 RMB (about $ 75,000) in October to turn the first floor of a Three-Self church in the Xiuyu district’s Daitou town into a “Civilization Practice Station for a New Era.” Numerous such propaganda centers are being established nationwide since late 2018 to enforce the CCP ideology on the population. They are often installed in religious venues that have been taken over by the state for this purpose.

On November 6, over 100 government officials attended the opening of the propaganda center, filled with 168 posters about Mao Zedong, Xi Jinping, and China’s other past and present communist leaders. The church pastor was forced to integrate stories about Mao Zedong in his sermon that day, which greatly saddened the congregation that now has to meet on the building’s second floor.

“We do not dare to refuse these propaganda materials for fear that the government will ban our gatherings,” a church member said helplessly. “We’re powerless to challenge them.”

President Xi Jinping’s personality cult has reached unprecedented levels, as countless places of worship are given ultimatums: hang a president’s portrait, or your venue will be closed. Two months after a Three-Self church in Shangrao city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi refused an order by a village official to display a president’s image in August, his superiors issued an order, banning all religious meetings “without Xi Jinping’s portrait in the church.” A government representative came later to hang a president’s image over a religious calendar on a church wall. The venue was also ordered to hang four national flags and slogans promoting the core socialist values inside and outside the building.

“I had to agree to this, fearing that we will lose our venue,” the preacher explained.

On August 26, the Religious Affairs Bureau, Public Security Bureau, United Front Work Department, and other government institutions in the Nanhu district of Jiaxing, a prefecture-level city in the eastern province of Zhejiang, convened 60 directors and preachers of local Three-Self churches to the Yuxin Three-Self Church for a meeting about propaganda. The gathering started with a flag-raising ceremony and the singing of patriotic songs.

According to a student at a state-run Protestant seminary in Zhejiang, students are demanded to learn how to preach in conformity with socialist dogmas, interpret the Bible in line with the core socialist values, follow the policy of sinicization of religion, and resist the “infiltration of foreign religious forces.” The seminary also indoctrinates them by slandering missionaries from abroad, condemning their evangelism as “an imperialist invasion.”…

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