In an effort to keep Christians from meeting together, China — which Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said over the summer is “growing into a respectable nation” — is demolishing some places of worship while turning others into factories and “cultural centers” to spread propaganda about President Xi Jinping’s communist ideals.
According to Bitter Winter, an outlet that monitors religious liberty violations in China, the restrictive government shuttered an old church in the southeastern province of Jiangxi in April because the congregation was “organizing illegal gathering[s]” and refusing to join the Three-Self Church, a government-backed and endorsed version of the church. It was then converted into a “Civilization Practice Station for a New Era,” a project launched by the Chinese Communist Party in July 2018 to encourage citizens to abandon their religious beliefs and follow the ways of the CCP.
“Party propaganda posters were posted everywhere in the venue,” a church member explained to the outlet, adding table-tennis tables were brought into the space.
That church, unfortunately, is representative of a greater trend. More than 70 Protestant churches in the Jiangsu Province’s prefecture-level cities of Lianyungang and Suqian were shut down in 2019, Bitter Winter reported:
In August, at a meeting of Three-Self Church directors in Bailu, a town in Lianyungang’s Guannan county, town officials explained that the empty churches, left after their congregations had been merged with other venues, must be rented or sold.
“We didn’t have a chance to save our church,” said one congregant.
One director of a church sold in August told Bitter Winter: “The government is eradicating churches.”
A village official said the shuttered and repurposed places of worship “will now be used to teach the young generation about China’s revolutionary spirit.”
“People of faith outnumber Communist Party members, and the party is not winning people’s hearts,” said one village official. “The government fears that this will bring instability. Churches are eradicated to ensure that there are more CCP members than believers.”
Despite the Xi regime’s continuous persecution of Christians and minority Muslims, Feinstein said in July she believes China is “growing into a respectable nation amongst nations.”
“We hold China as a potential trading partner, as a country that has pulled tens of millions of people out of poverty in a short period of time, and as a country, is growing into a respectable nation amongst nations,” she said. “I deeply believe that.”
As Faithwire reported at the time, China is — among other things — guilty of indoctrinating children against the “evil cult” of Christianity, of misusing Scripture to attack the U.S., of rewriting the Bible to promote communism, of continuing to arrest and charge Christian ministers for no reason, of continuing to destroy Christian places of worship, and of detaining Uyghur Muslims and placing them in concentration camps, which Xi’s administration has called “re-education camps.”