The Chinese government is supervising a five-year plan to make Christianity more compatible with socialism in which there will be a “rewrite” of the Bible, a prominent religious freedom activist has told Congress.
The Rev. Bob Fu, a former Chinese house church leader who immigrated to the United States in 1997 and founded the persecution, Thursday about a plan enacted by leading state-sanctioned denominations in China to “Sincize” Christianity.
As China’s crackdown on religion has seen many house churches demolished and thousands of crosses removed from churches nationwide, Fu warned upfront that what is happening right now in China represents the highest degree of persecution for independent faith groups the country has seen in decades.
“Religious freedom in China has really reached to the worst level that has not been seen since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution by Chairman Mao [Zedong] in the 1960s,” Fu told members of the House Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.
At the center of this new level of persecution is China’s new regulation on religious affairs that was released last year but enacted on Feb. 1. According to Fu, the revision of the religious regulations are to actively guide religion to “adapt to socialist society.”
In a written testimony, Fu said that under the new regulations religious activity sites will “accept the guidance, supervision, and inspection of relevant departments of the local people’s government regarding the management of personnel, finances, assets, accounting, security, fire protection, protection of relics, health and disease prevent and so forth.”
Fu said that in order to comply with the new religious regulations, the Three Self Patriotic Movement and the Chinese Christian Council have developed a five-year plan on “promoting the Sinicization of Christianity.”
Fu explained that the CCC and TSPM held a seminary last July for preliminary discussion about the five-year plan. He added that the plan outline was finalized at a meeting this March.
The plan proposes “cultivating and implementing the socialist core values.” The plan will be supervised by the national religious affairs bureau and “every province, autonomous region and municipality’s TSPM and CCC seminaries and churches will cooperate with it.”
One way in which they plan to Sinicize Christianity, Fu said, is by “retranslating” the Old Testament and providing new commentary to the New Testament to make socialist ideals and Chinese culture seem more divine.
“The plan made it clear that ‘Sinicization of Christianity’ means to change ‘Christianity in China’ into ‘Chinese Christianity,'” Fu explained, emphasized that ‘the heart and soul of Christianity’s Sinicization is to Sincize the Christian theology,’ and even proposing to ‘re-translate the Bible or re-write biblical commentaries.'”
According to its latest outline, Fu said, a retranslation would be a summary of the Old Testament with some Buddhist scripture and Confucian teachings and new commentary for the New Testament.
“There are outlines that the new Bible should not look westernized and [should look] Chinese and reflect Chinese ethics of Confucianism and socialism,” Fu told The Christian Post after the hearing. “The Old Testament will be messed up. The New Testament will have new commentaries to interpret it.”
Fu added that the five-year plan advocates for “incorporating the Chinese elements into church worship services, hymns and songs, clergy attire, and the architectural style of church buildings.”
“This includes ‘editing and publishing worship songs with Chinese characteristics and promoting the Sinicization of worship music,’ using uniquely Chinese art forms, such as Chinese painting, calligraphy, inscription, and paper-cutting to express the Christian faith,'” He said. “[It’s also] encouraging churches to blend in style with Chinese architecture to local architectural style.”
Fu said that while over 4,000 to 6,000 crosses of state-sanctioned churches have been torn down, churches that have crucifixes on the inside must “put up pictures of Chairman Mao and Chairman Xi [Jinping] on both sides of the cross.”
“In the beginning of every church worship service, the choir of the church has to sing a few communist revolutionary songs praising the communist party before they can sing the worship songs,” Fu detailed.
There have been reports that state officials have gone door-to-door trying to get Christians to sign a statement renouncing their Christian faith.
“For first time since cultural revolution, the communist party is now implementing a policy to mandate the Chinese faithful citizens to sign a form to renounce their faith,” he said. “We have produced documentation showing [government officials] going door-to-door to force believers to sign a prepared form claiming that these believers were misled by evangelists into believing Christianity. Now, after a few weeks of self-examination and political studies, they have realized they made a mistake. This has not happened in the past.”
Irish Bishop Against Practicing Yoga in Christian Schools
An Irish bishop has written to Catholic schools urging them to ban yoga as it is ‘not of Christian origin’ and the children should spend their time ‘in adoration of Jesus’ instead.
Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, wrote to principals, teachers and school staff members in Waterford City and County, Ireland, on October 10.
In his letter, he said: ‘Yoga is not of Christian origin and is not suitable for our parish school setting and especially not during religious education time.
‘I have been asked by several people to say a word on yoga and mindfulness. My question is, ‘Will they bring us closer to God or replace him?’
The bishop claimed that Christian Mindfulness is ‘meditation on Christ’ which empties the mind of ‘everything unnecessary’ in order to become ‘aware of the presence and love of Christ’.
While he also quoted Pope Francis that practices like yoga are ‘not capable of opening our hearts up to God’.
The bishop added how people can ‘take a million courses in spirituality’ but this activity ‘will never be able to give you freedom’, echoing Pope Francis’s speech in 2015.
He said Pope Francis’s philosophy was in keeping with Ireland’s Grow In Love programme. This touches on Christian doctrine, Scripture, morality and prayer.
Teacher’s were reminded that October is the ‘month of the Rosary’ and they should each pray in a bid to get closer to Jesus, in the letter.
But the primary school curriculum allows a degree of flexibility about how its implemented, according to the Irish National Teachers Organisation, who hit-back at his view.
John Stokes, a yoga instructor in Waterford, said the practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness should be ’embraced’ in ‘an age where children are really suffering from anxiety and stress’.
‘There is no dogma taught in our classes and Yoga in it’s truest sense is a movement and breath awareness practice for health and wellbeing.
They said ‘here’s to tolerance, love and unity’ and invited him to a one-to-one yoga session or class of his choice’ at their Wellness Centre in Youghal, Ireland.
The Irish National Teachers Organisation said the primary school curriculum allows schools a certain amount of flexibility and autonomy with regard to its implementation.
They said the schools ‘are best placed’ to make the decisions about how the subjects are taught, taking into consideration the ‘school culture, ethos and needs of the pupils’.
This is not the first time Bishop Cullinan has received backlash for his views as he said he was to establish a ‘delivery ministry’ group to rid people of the devil through exorcism, last year.
He also claimed the cervical cancer vaccine could lead to promiscuity in 2017.
The bishop said the vaccine ‘lulls girls into false sense of security’ and encourages sexual activity, adding: ‘Prevention, the number one and most effective protection, is abstinence. A good old traditional value.’
He later apologised and admitted he was not fully informed about the vaccination programme. Cullinan’s ‘intention was solely motivated to protect people from HPV’.
China Demolishes 3,000-Seat Megachurch during Worship Service
The People’s Republic of China destroyed a church that reportedly could seat 3,000 people and detained its pastors, according to a human rights organization.
An international nonprofit Christian human rights group based in Texas, reported the incident in a statement released Saturday. According to the group, Chinese authorities provided no legal papers to justify the demolition.
The church was located in Funan, Anhui province. Its pastors, Geng Yimin and Sun Yongyao, were detained under suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.”
China Aid President Bob Fu said in a statement that the incident was “yet another clear example showing the escalation of religious persecution today by the Chinese Communist regime.”
“The total disregard of religious freedom’s protection as enshrined in the Communist Party’s own Constitution tells the whole world President Xi is determined to continue his war against the peaceful Christian faithful. This campaign will surely fail in the end.”
While China’s persecution of religious groups has existed for many years, recently under President Xi Jinping a wave of crackdowns on religious practices in China has taken place.
The Communist government has destroyed or damaged several churches, reflecting concerns about the increasing Christian population of the country.
In the summer, True Jesus Church in Henan province was razed to the ground, according to persecution watchdog Bitter Winter. Police officers reportedly dragged out all believers from the church before they demolished the property.
Bitter Winter also reported last month that the Ten Commandments have been removed from nearly every Three-Self church and meeting venue in a county of Luoyang city and replaced with the President Xi Jinping’s quotes as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to “sinicize” Christianity.
In addition to cracking down on its Christian minority, China has engaged in violent persecution of its Uighur Muslim and Falun Gong communities.
The China Tribunal, a human rights group, told the United Nations Human Rights Council last month that the Chinese government is harvesting organs from religious minorities, with possibly hundreds of thousands of victims.
“Forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including the religious minorities of Falun Gong and Uighurs, has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale, and that it continues today. This involves hundreds of thousands of victims.”
“Victim for victim and death for death, cutting out the hearts and other organs from living, blameless, harmless, peaceable people constitutes one of the worst mass atrocities of this century.”
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