(Zhejiang province) On July 3, a hammer and sickle, the emblem of the Chinese Communist Party, was placed next to Shinian Christian Church.
A pastor in Zhejiang province reported that the Taizhou Religious Affairs Bureau sent out notices to surrounding churches. They requested “all religious venues must put up large signs at their entrances that say ‘love the Chinese communist party, love the country, and love the religion’ and ‘uphold the principle of developing religions in the Chinese context.’”
According to Article 55 of the Constitution of the Communist Party of China, party organizations and members at every level shall protect the sanctity of the party emblem and flag. The emblems and flags must be made and used according to regulations.
Communism in the church
However, Christianity is not a branch of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It is very unusual to put up the hammer and sickle on a church building where there is no legal ground for doing so. Local government officials are blind to the rule of law, and high-level officials laid the ground for lower-level officials to abuse their power.
Christianity flourishes in Zhejiang province, but the Chinese government takes drastic measures to control it. Many officials wish to “develop religions in the Chinese context,” also known as Sinicization. This leads to the harsh persecution of Christian house churches.
An anonymous pastor in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, confirmed these reports with ChinaAid. According to him, several house churches have been banned. Police shut down their buildings and confiscated their property. Not only that, local officials used severe religious persecution as political capital for promotions.
Persecution for political gain
Cai Qi, one of the trusted followers of President Xi Jinping, was once an official of the Taizhou area. He entered China’s highest political power circle after his tenure in Fujian province. When Xi Jinping was secretary of Zhejiang provincial committee, Cai was party secretary of Taizhou City. He was one of the very few people promoted to the Political Bureau of the Central Committee directly from outside the Central Committee of the Party. Xi promoted several of his trusted followers into the highest political power circle. Premier Li Qiang hailed from Wenzhou City, Zhejiang province. Such a political mechanism allows ambitious politicians to grasp political capital.
Thus, the persecution in the Wenzhou area and Taizhou area is very likely to escalate in the next few years. China Aid will continue to focus on religious freedom in Zhejiang province.
~Gao Zhensai, Special Correspondent of ChinaAid