Following repeated demands from the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a church in Luoyang removed the Ten Commandments and replaced them with quotes from speeches by supreme leader Xi Jinping, a report said.
Still, the state-run church was reprimanded by the communist government, Tang Feng wrote on Sept. 20 for Bitter Winter magazine, which reports on religious liberty and human rights in China.
The CCP’s list of demands are being enforced against house churches as well, the report said.
After the United Front Work Department removed the Ten Commandments from the state-run Three-Self church, it lectured the congregation, saying: “The Party must be obeyed in every respect. You have to do whatever the Party tells you to do. If you contradict, your church will be shut down immediately.”
The Ten Commandments “are the basis of Christian moral code, an essential part of believers’ life throughout the world. But in atheist China, they have become an eyesore for the country’s dictator, and are eliminated from places of worship,” Tang Feng wrote.
“The Communist Party’s ultimate goal is to ‘become God.’ This is what the devil has always done,” a preacher from a state-run Protestant church told Bitter Winter.
Bitter Winter reported in November on a “sinicization” move in Henan’s Luoning county which ordered a local Three-Self church to remove the first of the Ten Commandments, “You shall have no other gods before me,” because “Xi Jinping opposes this statement.”
A believer who asked to remain anonymous, told Bitter Winter that, against the will of congregants, the Ten Commandments have been removed from nearly every Three-Self church and meeting venue China and replaced with quotations from Xi.
The quotations include excerpts from Xi’s speech at a Central United Front Work Department working meeting on May 18, 2015:
“The core socialist values and Chinese culture will help to immerse various religions of China. Support religious community in interpreting religious thought, doctrines, and teachings in a way that conforms with the needs of the progress of the times. Resolutely guard against the infiltration of Western ideology, and consciously resist the influence of extremist thought.”
Some Three-Self churches were shut down for not implementing the government’s demand to replace the Ten Commandments with Xi’s quotes, the believer told Bitter Winter.
“Some congregations have been threatened to be blacklisted by the government, meaning that their travels will be restricted and schooling and future employment of their offspring will be impeded if they refused to overhaul their churches according to the current national policies,” Tang Feng wrote.
The preacher told Bitter Winter that the CCP is not only shutting down house churches but is also methodically destroying Three-Self churches by eroding the Christian doctrine.
“The government’s first step is to prohibit religious couplets. Then it dismantles crosses and starts to implement the ‘four requirements’ by ordering the national flag and ‘core socialist values’ to be placed in churches,” the preacher said. “Surveillance cameras to monitor believers and religious activities are then installed. The last step is to replace the Ten Commandments with Xi Jinping’s speeches.”
“China is a one-party dictatorship. People are only allowed to obey the Communist Party and be controlled by it. We have no freedom at all,” another congregant told Bitter Winter.