It is being reported that China is conducting a campaign to alleviate Christian poverty in their country, but only if the Christ-followers replace their pictures of Jesus with pictures of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Thousands of Christians in an impoverished county in rural southeast China have swapped their posters of Jesus for portraits of President Xi Jinping as part of a local government poverty-relief programme that seeks to “transform believers in religion into believers in the party”.
The report mentions the southeast region has 11 percent of their population under the poverty line, while 10 percent its population is Christian.
The Chinese government looked to challenged the struggling Christian believers, offering them basic necessities for their belief in the Party, over their faith in Jesus:
Qi Yan, chairman of the Huangjinbu people’s congress and the person in charge of the township’s poverty-relief drive, said the campaign had been running across the county since March. He said it focused on teaching Christian families how much the party had done to help eradicate poverty and how much concern Xi had shown for their well-being.
“Many poor households have plunged into poverty because of illness in the family. Some resorted to believing in Jesus to cure their illnesses,” Qi said. “But we tried to tell them that getting ill is a physical thing and that the people who can really help them are the Communist Party and General Secretary Xi.”
“Many rural people are ignorant. They think God is their saviour … After our cadres’ work, they’ll realise their mistakes and think: we should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help,” Qi said.
Axios reports that government officials were able to get over 600 posters removed, a majority of them were replaced with pictures of the president:
Quick take: Local officials doing this likely see it as double-win:
- They get to show they are cracking down on foreign religions.
- They demonstrate loyalty while disseminating the Party’s good news.
The South China Morning Post reports over 1,000 pictures of the nation’s president were distributed and “all of them had been hung in residents’ homes.”Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.