The new trend inaugurated by the CCP’s 100th anniversary continues unabated.
by Zhang Chunhua
The picture we present to you today was taken in Wenying Park in Taiyuan city, Shanxi province. It shows Pastor Zhang Enlai, the leader of the government-controlled Three-Self Church in Taiyuan city, praying with other Three-Self leaders and lay workers at the shrine of the CCP martyrs.
The place they are worshiping at is called the Heroic Revolutionary Martyrs Memorial Tower. It honors the members of the CCP who perished in the civil war. The top part of the memorial depicts the unity of workers, peasants, soldiers, intellectuals, and women. They hold the torch of the revolution dispelling the darkness of counter-revolution and obscurantism. In front is the national emblem of Red China, and an inscription signed by Chairman Mao, “Long Live the Martyrs!”
It is a shrine to the Marxist revolution winning over the forces of the “counter-revolution,” which in Marx’s and Chairman Mao’s philosophy clearly include religion. In Communist iconography, “darkness” and “obscurantism” defeated by the light of the revolution refer to the old, non-materialistic ways of living and thinking, including “superstition” and religion.
It is to this shrine, inaugurated in 1951, that the Three-Self Church went to worship at the beginning of September. It was not an isolated incident but part of the campaign aimed at further “sinicization” of Chinese Christians that started with the 100th anniversary of the CCP in July. “Sinicization” does not mean becoming more Chinese, it means becoming more subservient to the CCP.
Pastor Zhang Enlai said that the Christians were there to better learn how to “cultivate the love of the Party, the country and socialism, and actively practice the core values of socialism.” Ignoring the increasing persecutions, Pastor Zhang said that today Christians live a “happy and peaceful life,” and they should be grateful to the CCP that granted it to them “with the blood of countless revolutionary martyrs.” “Without the sacrifices of the older generation of revolutionaries, Pastor Zhang said, there would be no stable and peaceful religious life today. Therefore, as Christians, we should unswervingly hold high the flag of patriotism, with the purpose of loving the Party, the country, and socialism, and actively explore the direction of the development of the sinicization of Christianity, and guide the believers to contribute to the society, serve the society, and repay the society with a grateful heart.”