Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

It is sad when a country’s record of religious persecution is so poor that its actions do not even cause surprise anymore. Despite billing itself as a developed and free country, China is nothing of the sort. The basic rights that the Constitution guarantees Americans in the First Amendment do not exist under China’s communist government. As such, it comes as, unfortunately, no surprise to hear about China’s continuing persecution of Christians.

China has made headlines around the world recently for its mass arrests of Christians, “reeducation” camps for Muslims, ominous disappearances of Catholic priests and announcement that it intended to rewrite the Bible to fall more in line with the communist party’s agenda. Given the numerous reports of torture smuggled out of China, some elements of Christian persecution become little more than background noise. That does not mean, however, that they are any less part of China’s ruthless crackdown on religion.

Recently, approximately 30 government officials inspected a government approved church and insisted that the first of the Ten Commandments had to be removed from the church. Apparently, President Xi Jinping opposes the famous statement “You shall have no other gods before Me.” When church members protested, the officials asked them, “Who dares not to cooperate? If anyone doesn’t agree, they are fighting against the country. This is a national policy. You should have a clear understanding of the situation. Don’t go against the government.”  Going against the government in China, of course, could easily lead to the death of a person and even their family.

Christian churches have been facing ever increasing restrictions in China. Crosses have been removed, churches are being ordered to register all members of their congregations and arrests have steadily climbed. One Christian stated that Chinese officials are “trying to corrupt our faith and make us betray God.” The reason, of course, is that in China, “religious citizens must first worship the Communist Party,” said Jiang Tao. “Only then can they worship their God.” Indeed, Chinese Christians have been ordered to remove posters of Jesus and replace them with President Xi, a man who has been referred to as “lingxiu,” a title last used by Hua Guofeng and Mao Zedong. The resurrection of a title largely associated with the man who had nearly 100 million of his own people murdered is concerning especially with Xi’s crackdown on religion. Mao himself was known to have actively worked to destroy any form of religion in China during his Cultural Revolution. One can only hope that matters improve for Christians in China before Xi follows in Mao’s footsteps and turns China red with blood rather than communism.

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