by Tang Feng
The Ten Commandments are the basis of Christian moral code, an essential part of believers’ life throughout the world. But in atheist China, they have become an eyesore for the country’s dictator, and are eliminated from places of worship.
Even though a state-run Three-Self church in a county of Luoyang city in the central province of Henan has replaced the Ten Commandments with President Xi Jinping’s quotes after repeated demands, it didn’t escape reprimands from the government. “The Party must be obeyed in every respect. You have to do whatever the Party tells you to do. If you contradict, your church will be shut down immediately,” United Front Work Department officials lectured the congregation at the end of June.
According to a believer who asked to remain anonymous, against the will of believers, the Ten Commandments have been removed from nearly every Three-Self church and meeting venue in the county and replaced with quotations from Xi Jinping. Like excerpts from his speech at a Central United Front Work Department working meeting on May 18, 2015: “The core socialist values and Chinese culture will help to immerse various religions of China. Support religious community in interpreting religious thought, doctrines, and teachings in a way that conforms with the needs of the progress of the times. Resolutely guard against the infiltration of Western ideology, and consciously resist the influence of extremist thought.”
he believer also revealed that some Three-Self churches had been shut down for not implementing the government’s demand to replace the Ten Commandments with the president’s quotes. Some congregations have been threatened to be blacklisted by the government, meaning that their travels will be restricted and schooling and future employment of their offspring will be impeded if they refused to overhaul their churches according to the current national policies. Disobeying the orders means opposition to the Communist Party, officials claimed.
“The government’s first step is to prohibit religious couplets. Then it dismantles crosses and starts to implement the ‘four requirements’ by ordering the national flag and ‘core socialist values’ to be placed in churches. Surveillance cameras to monitor believers and religious activities are then installed. The last step is to replace the Ten Commandments with Xi Jinping’s speeches,” the preacher gave his analysis of the situation in Three-Self churches. “The Communist Party’s ultimate goal is to ‘become God.’ This is what the devil has always done.”
“China is a one-party dictatorship. People are only allowed to obey the Communist Party and be controlled by it. We have no freedom at all,” another believer said helplessly.
Forced removals of the Ten Commandments from churches at the hands of the CCP are a frequent occurrence in Henan, and Bitter Winter has reported extensively on this issue. Last November, in a “sinicization” move bordering on farce, authorities in Henan’s Luoning county ordered a local Three-Self church to remove the first of the Ten Commandments, “You shall have no other gods before me,” because “Xi Jinping opposes this statement.” The Ten Commandments are being replaced with portraits of Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping and communist propaganda in other parts of the country as well.
Tang Feng, uses a pseudonym for security reasons.Tang Feng
This article was original published at Bitter Winter.org
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