China has allegedly struck another blow at religious minorities—especially Christians—residing in the totalitarian dictatorship.
According to reports from Chinese persecution watchdog Bitter Winter, impoverished Christians living in China who are receiving assistance have been ordered to renounce their faith or lose their welfare benefits.
Bitter Winter reports:
In April, the government of a town administered by Linfen, a prefecture-level city in the northern province of Shanxi, called officials from all villages under its jurisdiction for a meeting. The participants were ordered to remove crosses, religious symbols and images from the homes of people of faith who receive social welfare payments and replace them with portraits of Chairman Mao and President Xi Jinping.
If any Christians protested or refused to comply, officials were told to cancel their welfare benefits.
A Three-Self Church member located in one of the villages reportedly said that officials removed all images in his home related to his Christian faith, replacing them with images of Chairman Mao:
“Impoverished religious households can’t receive money from the state for nothing — they must obey the Communist Party for the money they receive,” the believer recalled the official’s scolding.
Bitter Winter reports that the policy is being carried out across the country.
In April, author Zhang Feng writes, “the government of Xinyu city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi withdrew a disabled Christian’s minimum living subsidy and a monthly disability allowance of 100 RMB (about $14).”
“Officials told me that we would be treated as anti-Party elements if my husband and I continued attending worship services,” the man’s wife said.
A Three-Self church member in her 80s from Jiangxi’s Poyang county reportedly had assistance taken from her because she said “Thank God” after receiving her monthly 200 RMB (about $28) payment. “They expected me to praise the kindness of the Communist Party instead,” she said.
In mid-May, Bitter Winter goes on, “an official from a village administered by Heze city in the eastern province of Shandong stormed into the home of a local Christian and posted portraits of Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping. ‘These are the greatest Gods. If you want to worship somebody, they are the ones,’ the believer recalled the official saying as he was attaching the portraits to the wall.”
Bitter Winter also points to a Christian from Weihui city in the central province of Henan who has been taking care of her two sons by herself after her husband died unexpectedly several years back. She started receiving a minimum living allowance from the state in 2016. “In early April,” the report states, “a village official ordered the woman to sign a statement renouncing her faith and destroy all Christian symbols in her house. Since she refused, her allowance was canceled.”
Bitter Winter has continually shared countless stories of such cruel, godless persecution at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, yet the strength and defiance of believers in the dictatorship endures—praise God!
Their stories should not only motivate us to fight for their freedom, they should put comfortable Christians who won’t so much as lift a finger for the Kingdom to shame!
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