|This church in Luoyang, Henan, was required to display
the Chinese flag. (Photo: Henan)
(Shanghai—Aug. 22, 2018) Churches across China are facing increased pressure to openly display their allegiance to the Communist Party as part of the government’s ongoing attempt to unify national thought with Chinese ideology.
An ancillary building of Xuanqiao Jesus Church in the Pudong region of Shanghai had “Socialism’s Core Values” scrawled on its wall. As a result, some of the church’s members said that their church has been mistaken for a government office by pedestrians, and its leaders feel outraged and helpless.
Likewise, all churches in Xinyu County, Jiangxi have been ordered to display the national flag as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s picture and posters on socialist values. Children in the area have also been forbidden from attending church, and the government has threatened to cancel the welfare of low-income residents should they attend.
Xinyu County government officials also pulled down the cross of Jieken Evangelical Church, as well as many others.
In Shangrao, another area of Jiangxi, more than 40 churches have hung a slogan that reads “Non-locals are prohibited from preaching; no underage people allowed in church.”
In addition, authorities in Leqing, Zhejiang, have been forcing churches to pay homage to the Party by singing patriotic songs and hanging the national flag. In accordance, a local church held a concert on Aug. 11, in which many nationalistic songs were sung.
Government officials in other regions of China are also forcing churches to tear down their crosses and replace them with the national flag. On Aug. 21, Tianen Church’s cross was torn down in Hebi, Henan, and another cross in Luoyang was replaced by the Chinese flag.
Such actions arise from China’s desire to ensure unwavering dedication to the government’s ideals. Called “Sinicization,” or “religion with Chinese characteristics,” China has implemented new policies that trim religious teachings into alignment with communist thought, ideally resulting in Chinese citizens having increased devotion to the Party.
ChinaAid exposes these attempts to control the beliefs of China’s Christians in order to defend human rights, religious freedom, and rule of law, and demands that the Chinese government allow all religious citizens to enjoy the full breadth of their freedoms, as mandated by Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution.