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Chinese Christians Urged to Replace Jesus Images with Xi Jinping

In another move to persecute Christians in China, the government has ordered residents of a poverty-stricken village in southeast China to remove posters of Jesus from their walls and put up portraits of President Xi Jinping instead.

Part of the program was the removal of images of Jesus, crosses, and Gospel couplets from homes. Pictures of Xi are to be prominently displayed in Chinese homes.

Recently, the Chinese Communist Party has slapped a travel ban on Christian believers. Church members were prevented from attending two symposiums in Hong Kong, reports Radio Free Asia.

Now, local officials have implemented the government’s poverty-relief program in the Yugan county in Jiangxi province, about 882 miles from Beijing.

Part of the program was the removal of images of Jesus, crosses, and Gospel couplets from homes. Pictures of Xi are to be prominently displayed in Chinese homes since the leader’s Communist Party vowed to eradicate poverty by 2020, reports South China Morning Post.

Nearly 10 percent of the 1 million population in Yugan is Christian. Most of the residents in the county are poor and the government is trying to compete with the growing Christian community with promises of material relief and poverty alleviation.

“Many rural people are ignorant. They think God is their savior…After our cadres’ work, they’ll realize their mistakes and think: we should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help,” said Qi.

Reports said over 600 residents “voluntarily” got rid of their religious decors and replaced them with the portraits of the president.

Qi Yan, who headed the poverty-relief campaign, said the government only reminded the villagers how much the Communist Party has done for the poor. He blamed the Christians’ belief that Jesus will save them from their illness and suffering.

“Many rural people are ignorant. They think God is their savior…After our cadres’ work, they’ll realize their mistakes and think: we should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help,” said Qi.

Villagers disclosed that they had no choice but to submit to local officials’ demands. One resident explained that, “They all have their beliefs and, of course, they didn’t want to take them 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.”

Qi, however, dismissed the allegation. “They still have the freedom to believe in religion, but in their minds they should [also] trust our party.”

Sources:
South China Morning Post
Radio Free Asia

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