Barnabas Fund, 6 December 2019
Authorities have forced a church in Jiangxi province to paint over its name and replace it with a communist slogan, “Follow the Party, Obey the Party, and Be Grateful to the Party,” as officials increasingly attempt to “sinicise” Christianity.
The church was also ordered to remove a painting of a Biblical figure and replace it with a portrait of China’s President Xi Jinping, surrounded by communist slogans.
Days later, officials locked the doors and windows and confiscated the keys to the church, registered under the state-sanctioned Patriotic Association, preventing the congregation from gaining access for worship.
Elsewhere, elderly members of an unofficial house church were told by the authorities that their retirement pensions would be stopped if they continued to gather for worship.
A secretive pact was thought to give both the Roman Catholic Church and the Chinese government a say in the appointment of new ministers.
Critics say that the government is now attempting to focus church teachings on Chinese patriotism and President Xi’s communist party, and church ministers are imprisoned or prevented from participating in religious festivals.