To escape poverty: Chinese Christians replace Christ images with Xi

Christians in rural China are reportedly urged to replace images of Jesus with Chinese President Xi Jinping's portrait (right). Photo at left from South China Morning Press

POVERTY is one of the biggest problems in every country in the world, so a group of Christian believers from a small county in China has decided to escape from their suffering.

But instead of praying hard to God to help them in their predicament as every believer would do, they opted to be a bit more ‘earthly’ by replacing pictures of Jesus Christ with portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Many Christian believers in Yugan county in Jiangxi province in southeast China are being urged by local authorities to replace religious artifacts especially images of Jesus, the crosses and the gospel couplets in their homes with posters of Xi to gain favors from the ruling party.

The practice harkens back to the era of the personality cult around late chairman Mao Zedong, whose portraits were once found in every Chinese home.

Qi Yan, chairman of the Huangjinbu people’s congress and the person in charge of the township’s poverty-relief drive, said people “should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help”. 

He said they are focusing 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 had plunged into poverty because of illness in the family. Some resorted to believing in Jesus to cure their illnesses. 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,” said Qi.

As a result, many villagers ‘voluntarily’ got rid of the religious texts and paintings they had in their homes, and replaced them with 453 portraits of Xi.

Yugan county in Jiangxi province is known for its poverty and its large Christian community. 

More than 11 per cent of its 1 million residents live below the poverty line, while nearly 10 per cent of its population is Christian, according to official data.

 

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Wednesday, 21 February 2018
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