Government-controlled churches offer books on the “red revolution,” biographies of leaders, and other secular works to advance the “sinicization” of religion.
There is a 20 square meter (about 215 square foot) room in a Three-Self church in Anshan city, in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, that serves as a library to promote the education of believers. There are four benches in the room, each able to seat four or five people.
Just in the last few months, the library’s bookshelves have been filled with all kinds of secular books, including biographies of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and other Chinese communist leaders; a series of books on the battles of World War II and the “red revolution;” the Three Character Classic (a book on Confucianism for children); Tang and Song dynasty poetry; and so on.
“These books were issued by the town government on December 2, 2018. There are 500 books that believers can borrow and read as they wish, just like a library,” said the person in charge of the church.
Some believers think that the authorities are using the library to indoctrinate believers using “soft” methods, subtly equating religion with the revolution and the Party.
Around the same time, a Three-Self church in another district of Anshan also received 500 secular books from government departments. After the books were delivered, the manager of the church was required to record a video and send it to the director of the local Religious Affairs Bureau.
Introducing secular books into churches is part of the nation-wide “four requirements” campaign to promote “sinicization” of religion. The campaign, launched in June 2018, requires religious communities to ritually raise the national flag and sing the national anthem, promote the Chinese constitution and laws, “Core Socialist Values,” and “China’s excellent traditional culture.”
Local believers reported to Bitter Winter that the authorities demanded that pastors and choir members at CCP-controlled Three-Self churches throughout Liaoning Province come to the provincial capital on January 20 and 21. They were expected to participate in a performance and sing the national anthem.
After a Three-Self church in Tieling city received the notice to attend, most believers opposed the idea and refused to participate.
One believer, who is over 60 years of age, said that the Party is using unconventional methods to indoctrinate believers. By doing so, people are prevented from believing in God. In the end, they can only believe in the Communist Party.
Reported by Yang Xiangwen