Impoverished Chinese Christians told to choose between their faith and state aid

Monday, July 20, 2020

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - The Chinese government is reported to have told poor Christian families they must give up their faith or lose state aid, CBN News reports. In a report published Monday, the Bitter Winter human rights group said: “People on social welfare [have been] ordered to worship the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), not God.” This latest action follows longstanding persecution of Christians by the communist regime in China.

In its report, Bitter Winter said the COVID-19 pandemic had significantly impacted the livelihoods of low-income households especially, leaving poorer Christians vulnerable to state manipulation. “Without much help from the state amid the pandemic, religious residents are also coerced to renounce their faith, or their welfare benefits will be canceled,” Bitter Winter reported.

According to Bitter Winter, local government officials in the northern province of Shanxi ordered the removal of crosses and other religious symbols from the homes of Christians receiving welfare support. The believers were then instructed to replace the symbols with portraits of Chairman Mao and President Xi Jinping. Officials were ordered to cancel the welfare aid of anyone who protested.

"All impoverished households in the town were told to display Mao Zedong images," a local pastor told Bitter Winter. "The government is trying to eliminate our belief and wants to become God instead of Jesus."

China ranks “very high” on the 2020 Open Doors Watch list of countries that persecute Christians. Now ranking 23rd, China has moved four places up “mostly because of the continuing and intensifying emphasis on ideology and the over-arching goal of preserving the rule of the Communist Party,” Open doors said on their website.