Beijing, Nov 15: China has reportedly asked its Christian citizen living in country’s south-east areas to remove the pictures of Jesus Christ and replace them with a good image of President Xi Jinping. The Christian community has been asked to remove Jesus Christ’s images as only Xi Jinping will help them fight and eliminate poverty, said media reports. Hundreds of Christians have swapped posters of Jesus Christ for portraits of Jinping as part of a local government poverty-relief programme.
Christians in the Yugan county in Jiangxi province have been told to take down the images of Jesus Christ, the crosses and the gospel couplets that form the centrepieces of their homes, and hang portraits of Xi Jinping instead, Hong-Kong based South China Morning Post reported. They have been told by Chinese officials that Jesus Christ wouldn’t drag them out of poverty or cure their illnesses, but the Chinese Communist Party will. More than 11 per cent of its one million residents live below the country’s official poverty line.
A social media account in Yugan county claimed that the Christian community had “willingly” removed 624 posters showing religious sayings and images, and replaced them with 453 images of President Xi Jinping, said a Washinton Post report. The step resembles the personality cult surrounding Communist China’s first leader, Mao Zedong, whose picture was in every home in the country.
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, said a media report. “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,” the report quoted him as saying.
“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 added. The Christian population in China is estimated to be around 90 million.
Xi Jinping, who has emerged as the most powerful Chinese leader in the recent times was conferred a second five-year term by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) in its once-in-a-five-year Congress last month. The Chinese President has also acquired the status of Mao and his successor Deng Xiaoping in the party as he is the only leader after them whose thought has been included in the party’s Constitution.