Chinese Communist Party officials have told Christians living in poverty in southeast China to replace religious images in their homes with portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping or they will lose government assistance, according to the South China Post. Christians living in rural, impoverished, Yugan County were instructed to remove these icons from their living rooms and hang portraits of Xi in their place as part of an anti-poverty effort seeking to “transform believers in religion into believers in the party,” the report said. Qi Yan, chairman of the Huangjinbu people’s congress and the person responsible for the township’s poverty-relief efforts, said the campaign has been in effect since March.
Qi Yan again: “Many poor households have plunged into poverty because of illness in the family. Some resorted to believing in Jesus to cure their illnesses, 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.” Yan continued, “Many rural people are ignorant. They think God is their savior. After our cadres’ work, they’ll realize their mistakes and think: we should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help.”
This sounds eerily like the Democratic Party in America. Truly. “You rubes in flyover country can cling to your silly ‘God’ and your ‘Second Amendment rights,’ if you persist in believing in a ‘Guy in the sky,’ and the vision of the ‘Founding Fathers,’ but if you’ll let go of your archaic, bigoted, misogynistic views and pledge your allegiance to our enlightened social justice warriors, we will hang a glorious portrait of President Obama in your living room and even allow you to keep your picture of Jesus Christ in your mudroom or back hallway. And we’ll give you free shit!”
This big government bullying is tragically reminiscent of the era of Chairman Mao Zedong, whose “People’s” revolution contributed to the deaths of more than 70 million Chinese people between 1949 and 1976, when he himself expired. Of course, they had it coming, as they didn’t share his views on collectivism/Communism. Portraits of Mao were once universally displayed in homes, and he was referred to as “Great Leader,” a term which at least one local newspaper has started using to refer to President Xi. (This smacks of the Hermit Kingdom, not a vast, modern nation).
Xi recently stated that religion must be guided by the party to adapt to socialist society. Yes, it’s always prudent to make universal truths adapt to your political party’s ideology rather than to consider adapting your political party’s ideology to abide by universal truths.
According to Yugan county’s website, officials held a meeting last October in which they discussed having a “sense of crisis” about the presence of religion there. (The very same thing occurred at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, at which God was booed when mentioned). At that meeting, county party secretary Hu Wei stated that the party must insist on “uniting people of faith around the party.” One online report claimed party members recently toured area villages, telling residents the party was supporting agriculture and removing poverty, in an attempt at “melting the hard ice in the hearts of religious believers” and “helping turn them into believers in the party.” The “hard ice” resides only in the hearts of party members, as evidenced by their coercion and denial of private property rights.
Officials have distributed and hung over 1,000 portraits in the county already. According to the South China Post report, Qi Yan said: “We only asked them to take down [religious] posters in the center of the home. They can still hang them in other rooms, we won’t interfere with that. What we require is for them not to forget about the party’s kindness at the center of their living rooms.” Nothing chilling there! Sich Heil! “Require” them to acknowledge the “party’s kindness,” or what?
But a local resident said “Some families put up gospel couplets on their front doors during the Lunar New Year; some also hung paintings of the cross. But they’ve all been torn down.” (Officials also forcibly removed crosses last August in Yugan county, according to Radio Free Asia accounts). The resident went on to state: “They all have their belief and, of course, they didn’t want to take them down. But there is no way out. If they don’t agree to do so, they won’t be given their quota from the poverty-relief fund.”
Who said “kindness” had to be free?
The truth is, of course, that religion is nearly as much of a threat to tyrannical governments as tyrannical governments are to their citizens.