China’s Communist Party Bans Baptisms, Forces Removal of Crosses, Bible Verse Art and ‘Last Supper’ Painting as Severe Crackdown on Christian Churches Continues

In this photo taken Saturday, June 2, 2018, a worker jumps from a truck parked in front of a church and the Chinese national flag near the city of Pingdingshan in central China’s Henan province. Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival. Experts and activists say that as he consolidates his power, Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Christians in China have revealed new details about the Communist Party’s ongoing crackdown on religion.

The Associated Press reported earlier this week on what believers have described as increasing persecution under President Xi Jinping’s government which has ordered several churches to be demolished while others have been forced to remove crosses and paintings of Jesus.

A 62-year-old shopkeeper from Henan province opened up about what he and other Christians have suffered, such as local officials showing up at their church and demanding that the cross, Bible verse calligraphy, and a painting of the “Last Supper” be taken down.

“I’ve always prayed for our country’s leaders, for our country to get stronger,” the shopkeeper said.

“They were never this severe before, not since I started going to church in the ’80s. Why are they telling us to stop now?” he asked.

Xi’s push to “Sinicize” Christianity and infuse it with “Chinese characteristics,” such as loyalty to the Communist Party, has led to several pastors and hundreds of congregants being arrested.

Churches, big and small, have been demolished, with officials claiming that curtain buildings must be torn down due to new zoning rules, ignoring the complaints of congregants who’ve been left without a place to worship.

“Can you imagine the pain and sorrow when you watch your ancestral grave being dug and your ancestors’ bones smashed into ash?” a church member asked last month following the destruction of Liangwang Catholic Church.

“Is it necessary for the government to do this? Church members just want to have a small area to build a small new church in the vicinity without affecting the development,” the man added.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov