by WorldTribune Staff, October 9, 2020
Christians in China must accept the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “as the main leader and follow only it.”
As part of this directive from supreme leader Xi Jinping, dozens of churches were forced to replace crosses with the symbol representing the Communist Party on the country’s flag, the five-pointed star, a report said.
The latest orders are part of Xi’s sweeping religious sinicization policy, which requires Christianity and other religions to embrace socialism and the leadership of the CCP, The Christian Post reported on Oct. 8. Since the orders began, thousands of crosses have been removed.
Other moves by the CCP to stifle religious liberty this year include:
• In September, Jiujiang’s Religious Affairs Bureau ordered official churches to remove Chinese characters for “Christianity” from church seals.
• In August, the Two Chinese Christian Councils in a county administered by the prefecture-level city of Jiujiang in Jiangxi Province ordered its more than 70 affiliated churches to remove the cross from their official seals, religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter reports.
• In July, the government of Lanling county’s Dazhongcun, administered by the prefecture-level city of Linyi in Shandong Province, removed crosses from “numerous state-approved Three-Self Church venues,” according to Bitter Winter. Other religious symbols and slogans were also removed from the buildings.
As the crosses were being torn down, one of the town officials told onlookers that “crosses must be removed from all churches because Christianity does not belong in China,” Bitter Winter reported.
In the first half of 2020, over 900 crosses were removed from state-run churches, according to estimates. On several occasions, Christians who attempted to stop cross removals were injured by authorities or detained.
Bob Fu of China Aid, a U.S.-based Christian rights group, previously explained that China’s cross removal campaign — which began in 2013 — “demonstrates the Chinese regime’s determination to contain the rapid growth of Christianity in China.”
Earlier this year, it was reported that amid the coronavirus pandemic, impoverished Christian villagers in China were ordered to renounce their faith and replace displays of Jesus with portraits of Chairman Mao and Xi or risk losing their welfare benefits.
The CCP also reportedly intends to undertake its own, state-approved “translation” of the Bible.
According to Xinhua News Agency, the CCP recruited “scholars” late last year and charged them with “making accurate and authoritative interpretations of classical doctrines to keep pace with the times.”