China Orders Removal of Christ Symbols in Place of President Xi Jinping
In a rural impoverished county in China, hundreds of Christians have been forced not to profess their faith by having to remove portraits of Jesus Christ or symbols of Christianity in favor of their President Xi Jinping as part of a local government poverty-relief programme, according to media reports.
Yugan county in Jiangxi province is one of the largest Christian communities per capita in China with about 10 percent of its population Christian. More than 11 percent of its one million residents live below the country’s poverty line.
While the local government focuses its efforts on alleviating poverty, believers were told to take down their images of Christ including crosses, rosaries, and gospel couplets that form the centrepieces of their homes, and hang portraits of Xi instead, Hong-Kong based South China Morning Post reported.
The Christian population in China is estimated to be around 90 million. The move by the local government forces its residents to worship their governments efforts to restore prosperity to their county rather than God and his divine son, the prophet Christ.
“Of course, they didn’t want to take [the pictures] down. But there is no way out. If they don’t agree to do so, they won’t be given their quota from the poverty-relief fund,” one of the township’s residents confirmed to the South China Morning Post.
Xi has been the head of the Communist Party of China since 2013 and has by far had the most substantial role of any politician in the country. President Xi is long dedicated to a socialist resurgence in China speaking at length during the Chinese Communist Party’s national congress in October about making religion more Chinese. Christians in Yugan county and elsewhere in China now fear persecution by their government.
Though Xi Jinping does not rule with a brutal fist like his predecessors such as Mao Zedong, the country still draws the line between ‘true’ secularism and the government as its core religious adherent.