The Chinese government is pressuring religious believers to remove images and messages related to their faith and replace those images with pictures of President Xi Jinping.
Communist Party officials have told thousands of Chinese Christians that Xi is able to provide for their health and wellbeing but Jesus is not, the Washington Post reports. A local report on social media claimed officials in Yugan county’s Huangjinbu township visited poor Christian households to help them embrace the party’s solutions to their material want.
Officials “melted the hard ice in their hearts” and “transformed them from believing in religion to believing in the party,” the report said.
Villagers removed 624 religious texts and images in their homes “voluntarily” as a result, and most of them were replaced with a picture of Xi.
Qi Yan, who is in charge of a local “poverty alleviation” effort, said party members were helping Christians in Yugan county stop “resorting” to Jesus.
“Many poor households have plunged into poverty because of illness in the family. Some resorted to believing in Jesus to cure their illnesses,” Qi said. “But 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.”
“Many rural people are ignorant. They think God is their savior,” he said. “After our cadres’ work, they’ll realize their mistakes and think: We should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help.”
The push by the Communist Party harkens back to the leadership of the People’s Republic of China’s founder, Mao Zedong, whose portrait was kept in every home.
Full article: Chinese Communist Party to Christians: Replace Paintings of Jesus With Photos of Xi (Washington Free Beacon)