CHINA has ransacked churches and encouraged Christians to replace posters of Jesus with portraits of President Xi Jinping as he tightens his grip on power. Experts and activists claim Xi is waging the most brutal attack on Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982. The crackdown on Christianity is part of a broader push by Xi to “sinicize” all religions in the nation by infusing them with “Chinese characteristics” including loyalty to the Communist Party. Islamic crescents and domes have been stripped from mosques, and a campaign launched to “re-educate” tens of thousands of Uighur Muslims. Tibetan children have been moved from Buddhist temples to schools and banned from religious activities during their summer holidays, state-run media reports. A five-year-long plan to “sinicize” Christianity in particular was introduced this year alongside new rules on religious affairs. Over the last few months, local governments across the country have shut down hundreds of private Christian “house churches”. A joint statement from 47 places of worship in Beijing alone said they had faced “unprecedented” harassment since February. Authorities have also seized Bibles, while some Christians have resorted to holding services in secret. Children and party members… Read full this story
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