China Christians to remove religious symbols

Michel Temer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Action closely tied to poverty-related fund allocation

The Chinese Government has ordered a number of Christian villagers in Yugan county, Jiangxi province to take down all displays of Christian symbols like crosses from their residences. This order is believed to be a part of the propaganda effort by the government to make the religious into people who believe in the power of the Chinese Communist Party. Media reports said officials from the Communist Party of China or CPC as it is popularly known, visited a number of homes in Christian dominated Yugan. Due to these efforts, about 600 families removed their Christian symbols from living rooms. 453 families instead hung President Jinping's portraits from their residential walls.

According to critics, this is an effort by the CPC to take control of every aspect of Chinese society. About 10 percent of the one million inhabitants of Jiangxi province are Christians. The government is trying to link a reduction in poverty with party-sponsored atheism. For Yugan county residents, it does not matter whether they want to hang pictures of Jinping or not. They allege if Christ's pictures are not removed, then no funds will be released from the poverty-relief fund. This move bears a striking resemblance to Mao Zedong, the first leader of Communist China. Many homes in China hung pictures of Zedong.

CPC members, in their latest campaign, went around the province, highlighting how the party helped to remove poverty and support agricultural activities. They wanted the believers of Christ to turn into believers in Chinese Communism. The same was voiced by Qi Yan, the chairman of people's congress in Huangjinbu township located within Yugan county. He is also the person responsible for poverty alleviation efforts.

According to Qi Yan, “Many poor households have plunged into poverty because of illness in the family.” In desperation, a few of them resorted to Christianity. He said, “we tried to tell them that getting ill is a physical thing, and that the people who can really help them are the Communist Party and General Secretary Xi.” The CPC campaign has distributed about 1,000 images of Xi which were subsequently hung in homes. The total population of Christians is between 5,000 and 6,000 families. According to the villagers, they were forced to comply. If they do not, money from the poverty relief fund will be withheld from them.

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