Chinese Christians Expected to Commemorate Victory Against Japan, Can’t Commemorate Own Martyrs

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The Chinese state-run church has been ordered to commemorate the Chinese military campaign against Japan during WWII as Chinese Christians although the church cannot commemorate martyrs killed by the ruling communist regime or even those executed for their faith by the former imperialist rulers.

The Three-Self Church, one of the only Christian entities that allowed to lawfully operate by the Chinese Communist Party, has been increasingly ordered to promote the teachings of President Xi Jinping and party doctrine and to syncretize this with perceived Christian theology.

The magazine Bitter Winter notes that while Christians are forbidden from honoring Christian martyrs, the church was essentially ordered to honor China’s victory in the “People’s War of Resistance Against the Japanese Aggression” last week as well as to pray for the “peaceful reunification” of China, which hints at the nation’s desire to fully claim Taiwan as its own.

A directive was sent to all churches that are part of the Three-Self tradition, which read:

To the Christian churches in each province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the central government.

This year is the 76th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. To respond positively to the initiative of the Chinese Religious Peace Council, a notice is hereby issued to the Christian churches in each province (or autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government), inviting churches to organize peace prayer worship activities to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War around September 3, according to the actual situation.

Churches and congregations may, according to the actual local situation, carry out relevant peace prayer activities in a small and decentralized form, in line with the local requirements for prevention and control of the new COVID epidemic, to further promote the fine tradition of patriotism and love of religion and to demonstrate the good image of peace-loving Christianity in China.

Churches are requested to submit evidence of the relevant activities (text, video and photo materials) to the Media Ministry Department of the China Christian Council by September 10.

Bitter Winter notes that the request to submit evidence is essentially a threat that those who do not prove they held the requested celebrations will face consequences.

As the magazine has previously reported, churches were requested earlier this year to incorporate aspects of Xi’s speech commemorating the 100th anniversary of the CCP into their sermons and Bible studies.

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