China orders Christians to worship communist leaders
Still dealing with the Corona virus outbreak, less privileged Christian villagers in China have been commanded to abandon their belief and replace Jesus frames with portraits of Chairman Mao and President Xi Jinping or they will lose their welfare benefits.
In April, Chinese Communist Party officials visited believers’ homes in Linfin, a prefecture-level town in the northern province of Shanxi, according to the journal Freedom of Religion. During their visit, they demanded that residents who were receiving social welfare payments from the government should replace crosses, religious symbols and images in their homes with portraits of Chinese communist leaders.
Anyone who resisted the order as China orders Christians to worship communist leaders, will lose the privilege of their subsidies.
A local pastor told Bitter Winter that the government is trying to destroy their faith and want to replace themselves with Jesus.
In one village, a member of the state-run Three Self-Church described how local officials tore up all religious frames and calendar with a picture of Jesus in his home and put a picture of Mao Zedong in its place.
In May, an official raided the home of a local Christian in the eastern province of Shandong. While inside the Christian’s home, the official posted a picture of Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping, allegedly saying they are the greatest deities they should worship.
In April, the government of the city of Xianyu in southeastern Jiangxi Province revoked a minimum housing subsidy for a disabled Christian and a monthly disability allowance of 100 RMB (approximately 14) because the believer continued to attend worship services despite government orders.
Similarly, in Jiangxi’s Poyang County, a Christian woman in her 80s was removed from the government’s relief list because she she said “thank God” after she received a monthly subsidy of 200 RMB (approximately $28) in mid-January
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, rights groups and the State Department have condemned China’s ongoing crackdown on religion and religious minorities.
In its 2020 annual report, the USCIRF called on the Trump administration to impose targeted sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for serious violations of religious freedom. It noted that Chinese authorities not only removed encroachments from churches across the country, but also banned young people aged 18 and under from attending religious services.
China is ranked 23rd on the Open Doors USA World Watch list of countries persecuting Christians. The organization notes that if any church is considered too big, too political, or bring in foreign guests, it becomes a threat.