The Three-Self Church 2022 flag-raising ceremony told believers they should do their part in supporting CCP propaganda.
by Zhang Chunhua
January 4, 2022, in China was the first working day after New Year’s Day. The Three-Self Church, i.e. the Protestant church controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and the only legal Protestant denomination in China, and its educational branch, the China Christian Council, held a flag-raising ceremony at their headquarters in Shanghai.
Pro-government Christian leaders raised the flag, sang the national anthem, and shouted “Peace and Prosperity!” The ceremony was chaired by Gu Mengfei, secretary general of the Chinese Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee. Pastor Xu Xiaohong, chairperson of the Chinese Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee, and Pastor Wu Wei, chairperson of the China Christian Council, then spoke.
Xu devoted his speech to the COVID-19 crisis. He congratulated the Three-Self Church for having regularly organized the flag-raising ceremonies of 2020, 2021, and 2022, the epidemy notwithstanding. Xu said that, “In the past two years, under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, our country has scientifically prevented and controlled the epidemic. The motherland has achieved world-renowned achievements in all aspects.”
Xu said that Christianity has a tradition of patriotism and supporting the political authorities, and indicated as priority for 2022 propagating, including through sermons in the churches, President Xi Jinping’s thought and his program of “national rejuvenation.”
Xu also mentioned the importance of “red” movies for educating Christians and strengthen their confidence in the Party. He suggested that Christian parishes may take the lead and bring devotees to watch the great patriotic movies released in 2021, such as “The Battle at Lake Changjin” and “Crossing the Yalu River.” Both movies are about the Korean War, have been characterized abroad as historically inaccurate, and have been criticized even in China by netizens as propaganda. Some of those who dared to criticize the movies on social media were identified and arrested.
Xu, however, gave himself the good example and led the participants in the flag-raising ceremony to a screening of “Crossing the Yalu River.” The movie is coming this winter to a Christian parish near you.