BEIJING: Continuing with its repression of religious minorities, Chinese officials have now ordered Christians to smash crosses and remove images of Jesus from their homes and instead put up pictures of Communist leaders.
Authorities have recently destroyed religious symbols by force in churches in multiple provinces, including Anhui, Jiangsu, Hebei and Zhejiang, according to US-based news site Radio Free Asia, reported Daily Mail.
Daily Mail citing independent outlet Bitter Winter, reported that officials of Shanxi demanded that religious images be taken down and replaced with pictures of Communist leaders.China has already been facing criticism for massive human rights abuses that it is carrying out against religious minorities in Xinjiang. The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has locked up lakhs of people.
The CCP has carried out a massive clampdown on all religious institutions in recent years in line with President Xi Jinping's orders that all religions must 'Sinicise' to ensure they are loyal to the party.
In Huainan province, officials in charge of religious affairs barged into the local Shiwan Christ Church to dismantle its cross on Saturday and Sunday.The officials had required the church to take down its cross a week earlier, reported Radio Free Asia citing local sources.
Daily Mail reported that according to the article, when the officials arrived at the venue to impose the order, they were confronted by dozens of believers who had gathered to try to prevent them from bulldozing the cross.
Citing a US-based pressure group China Aid, reports said that similar scenes played out in Yongjia in Zhejinag on July 7 where local authorities sent a crane and nearly 100 workers to demolish the crosses on Ao'di Christ Church and Yinchang Christ Church.
Local government officials at Linfen in Shanxi Province summoned all village officials and directed them to crack down on religious activity, reported Bitter Winter.
As per the report, late last year, the Chinese central government ordered its censors to review and edit all translated versions of classic religious books to make sure that their messages reflect the principles of Socialism.
The new editions must not contain any content that goes against the beliefs of the Communist Party, according to the country's top officials on religious matters.The report comes at a time when China is facing intense criticism for its treatment of religious minorities in Xinjiang province.