For the CCP, it’s not enough to replace the Ten Commandments with the president’s portraits and quotations. It is now mandatory for believers to study his work.
by Li Guang
For members of the Chinese Communist Party, studying Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics – a political theory that China’s president launched after he came into power – is an obligatory political task. Though based on atheism and utterly incompatible with religion, the theory is now becoming compulsory to study for religious communities across the country.
Following the path of Mao Zedong, President Xi is attempting to ascend the “divine altar” and be worshipped by the masses. Religious venues are no longer the places for believers to practice their faith but have been turned into indoctrination bases for the CCP to promote its ideology.
“Xi Thought” broadcasted daily in a temple
A local monk explained that the state demanded the temple to install the screen at its own expense. “The government now requires that religious venues study government policies and Xi Jinping’s speech at the 19th CCP National Congress; the core socialist values must also be promoted,” the monk said, adding that officials conduct inspections frequently, and the temple would run into trouble if it didn’t comply with their demands.
According to the monk, it is now compulsory for the temple’s congregation to listen daily to the president’s speech at the 19th National Congress. As per the local Religious Affairs Bureau’s requirements, believers have to write an essay with at least 2,000 characters on what they had learned listening to the speech.
“The Religious Affairs Bureau arranges an exam each month. Its content isn’t about the knowledge of Buddhism – but rather the Chinese Constitution and religious policies,” said the monk. He added that only those monks and nuns who pass the political assessment are eligible to stay at the temple.
President’s books replace the Bible
In government-run Three-Self churches throughout China, the Ten Commandments are being censored and changed or are substituted with Xi Jinping’s quotes and other propaganda texts or portraits of communist leaders.
And the invasion of communist ideology into religious venues is expanding.
There is not a single Bible in sight in libraries of some Three-Self churches in Henan’s Zhengzhou city: they have been replaced with books about Xi Jinping that are displayed in the most prominent places.
As it turned out, in late May, the local Religious Affairs Bureau demanded every religious venue to set up a library room and stock it with Xi Jinping’s speeches and books, state laws and regulations, texts on traditional Chinese culture, and similar topics for believers to read and study.
The bookcases in the library are now filled with more than 1,000 books unrelated to religion, including Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, Classical Words Quoted by Xi Jinping, biographies of Mao Zedong and his successor Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997). According to believers, the church spent over 10,000 RMB (about $ 1,400) to complete this “political task,” and the government threatens to shut down any church that doesn’t cooperate in setting up a library room.
Over 400 preachers convened to study “Xi Thought”
As the propagators of Christianity, preachers in churches have become key targets of “transformation” by the CCP. On June 11, the Luoyang city government in Henan organized a five-day training for more than 460 preachers to study “Xi Thought” and the core socialist values. Specially-assigned personnel supervised and recorded training sessions.
The preachers were also taken to the museum of history and the memorial hall dedicated to Jiao Yulu (1922-1964) – a devoted Mao Zedong follower who later became the “symbol of the honest Party cadre” and was posthumously awarded the title of “Revolutionary Martyr.” All the participants were demanded to write a text depicting the “gains in understanding” after the visit.
“The government’s aim in conducting this training session was to indoctrinate us, prevent us from preaching about the Bible, and make us talk about nothing but atheism and related issues,” said a preacher who took part in the training. “The state is replacing the Bible with secular things, which is destroying the foundation of the church.”
Another preacher said that the CCP wants to attain a higher status than God so that everyone will revere it as the “greatest,” and will believe in and follow it.