"These are the greatest gods. If you want to worship somebody, they are the ones."
Amidst the economic crises brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, China is coercing its Christian citizens to renounce their faith. Believers living in impoverished regions must remove crosses and images of Jesus from their homes, and hang portraits of their communist leaders instead.
Those who disobeyed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) order reportedly lost their social welfare benefits.
“They expected me to praise the kindness of the Communist Party instead,” the elderly woman from Jiangxi’s Poyang county said.
In April, Christian residents from Linfen, Xinyu, Weihui, and Shangqui also experienced this kind of persecution.
“All impoverished households in the town told to display Mao Zedong images,” a local pastor said. “The government is trying to eliminate our belief and wants to become God instead of Jesus.”
“Impoverished religious households can’t receive money from the state for nothing—they must obey the Communist Party for the money they receive,” a member of Three Self Church recalled the words uttered by an official. They came and tore down all religious couplets and a calendar with an image of Jesus in his home, reported religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter.
The government of Xinyu city also stopped giving the minimum living subsidy and monthly 100RMB or $14 disability allowance of a disabled Christian.
A widow with two sons from Weihui also suffered the same fate. She refused to sign a statement renouncing her faith and to destroy all the Christian symbols in her home. Consequently, the government stopped giving her allowance.
Similarly, officials also stopped sending a 70-year-old woman’s monthly financial aid because they found an image of a cross on her door.
“They tore it down immediately,” the elderly woman said. “Afterward, both my minimum living allowance and poverty alleviation subsidy were canceled. I am being driven to a dead end. I have diabetes and need injections regularly.”
In March, CCP officials again removed several crosses on churches in the eastern provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui and Shandong, according to The Christian Post.
Apparently, this move has been part of the Chinese government’s campaign to “transform believers in religion into believers in the party” wrote The Christian Post. Moreover, the article stated that CCP members claim this move can help alleviate poverty in the region. They believe “faith is to blame for poverty.”
China ranks number 23 on the list of countries known for persecuting Christians, as per Open Door USA’s World Watch List.
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