(Shangrao, Jiangxi) Officials in China’s eastern Jiangxi province have promised to pull impoverished Christians out of poverty under one condition: that they turn from their religion, believe in communism, and replace Christian posters with images of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In the Huangjinbu town of Shangrao, Jiangxi, authorities established a poverty alleviation program in order to aid its citizens, who make an average of less than 5,000 yuan [$753.94 USD] per year. However, they said the aid would only be available to Christians if they agreed to giving up their faith and following communism and replace any Christian images with pictures of Xi. So far, 624 Christian materials have been removed, and 453 have been replaced with photos of the president.
A report claimed that the Christians voluntarily got rid of their “religious paintings,” but Communist Party officials were dispatched to their homes to ensure that the action was done.
This is a clear violation of Article 36 of China’s Constitution, which states that no government institution may discriminate against citizens based on faith.
This new rule recalls an older Chinese practice in which those who are loyal to the government display pictures of Mao Zedong in their home. Since Xi took over control of China from the previous president, Hu Jintao, the country has experienced a serious transgression of human rights, making his rule the most regressive since Mao’s Cultural Revolution. At the most recent gathering of the National People’s Congress, China’s key leaders failed to nominate a successor to Xi, meaning his rule at this point remains indefinite.
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by church members in Huangjibu, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.