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Chinese officials pay poor to swap religious images for portraits of Xi

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Chinese officials pay poor to swap religious images for portraits of Xi

HONG KONG (CNS) — Officials in China’s eastern
Jiangxi province have replaced religious images displayed by Christian families
with portraits of the country’s leader, Xi Jinping.

Ucanews.com reported that, on Nov. 12,
pictures were uploaded to the popular social messaging service WeChat account
of Huangjinbu town government, showing officials removing images of the cross
and other religious subjects in Yugan County.

The message from officials said the
Christians involved had “recognized their mistakes and decided not to
entrust to Jesus but to the (Communist) Party” claiming the Christians
voluntarily removed 624 religious images and posted 453 portraits of Xi.

The officials also claimed they were “converting”
Christians to party loyalty through poverty alleviation and other schemes to
help the disadvantaged. Nearly 10 percent of Yugan County’s largely
impoverished 1 million people is Christian.

Father Andrew, who declined to give his full
name for fear of government retribution, told ucanews.com that the removal of
the Christian images involved officials giving money to poor households in
return for hanging Xi’s portrait.

Father John, in northern China, said he felt
Xi had become “another Mao” Zedong following the 19th National Congress
of the Chinese Communist Party in October. The priest predicted that other officials
around the country would imitate what had been done in Jiangxi.

With the party’s new revised “Regulations
on Religious Affairs” to be implemented Feb. 1, Chinese Christians and observers
believe religious policy will closely follow Xi’s “Sinicization”

During the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution,
religious intolerance and Mao’s dogma prevailed. Young people were encouraged
to criticize their elders, including parents and teachers. People accused of
spying for foreign powers were detained and beaten to obtain confessions.

Priests in China who spoke to ucanews.com
did not see any direct return to the conditions of the Cultural Revolution, but
said they feared religious and social controls would continue to intensify.

“It is not going to be good,” said
one of the priests.

The release in China of videos urging
children to spy on their families has also brought back further memories
of the Cultural Revolution, when youths enforced Communist Party ideology. Young
people of the Red Guards engaged in the arrest and public humiliation of anyone
considered to be deviating from the teachings of revolutionary leader Mao.

Recently, the Chinese Society of Education,
affiliated with the Education Ministry, released two videos online aimed at teaching
children to report family members who could pose a threat to national security.
One video was for primary school students and another for high school students.

Both instructed children to report to the
national security bureau anyone, including parents, who could be illegally
relaying confidential information, especially to foreigners. The videos
provided a hotline phone number to report suspicious activities.

An official notice said the videos were
produced to match Xi’s strategy of incorporating national security objectives
into the education system.

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The original story can be found at https://www.ucanews.com/news/china-officials-replace-in-home-pictures-of-jesus-with-xi-jinping/80810.


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