With July 1 marking the CCP's centennial celebration, China's government-controlled Protestant Church – known as the Three-Self Patriotic Movement – was called to hold a national conference with the China Christian Council (CCC). The CCC is a state agency that oversees all education coming out of the Three-Self churches.
The national conference was themed "Learning and Implementing the Spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping's Speech of July 1." In addition to being given the directive to modify their sermons, pastors were ordered to integrate the speech – which celebrated the CCP's Marxist roots and threatened Taiwan and the West – into their Bible study groups.
CCC chairman Wu Wei told pastors how to incorporate communist propaganda into their sermons. "[Impress the fact that] the Chinese Communist Party has never changed its original intention to put the people first, establish an extensive patriotic united front, unite the citizens' hearts, gather strength, and continue to explore and innovate," he instructed Chinese pastors, according to Christian Headlines.
Among other directives given at the conference pastors were told to "[lead your congregations in] thanking God for putting us in this great era [and] continuing to learn the spirit of General Secretary Xi's speech."
A total of nine points from Xi's speech were highlighted during the conference, including instructions that Christians should:
- Frequently repeat two slogans ("Long live the great, glorious and correct Chinese Communist Party! Long live the great, glorious and heroic Chinese people!")
- Trust the CCP because it has more than 70 years of experience in successfully governing the country
- Join the CCP in telling foreign hostile powers that "the era when the Chinese nation was slaughtered and bullied is gone forever!"
- Support the leaders of the CCP since "only Socialism can save China."
Beyond the communist propaganda …
With China's long track record of persecuting Christians – from bulldozing non-compliant Christian churches to jailing thousands of believers for worshipping God above the state – it is of little surprise that Open Doors' 2021 World Watch List ranks China as the 17th most difficult nation in the world to be a Christian.
On the other hand, churches that bow down to the communist government are generally left alone. "For churches to stay open, they must be 'sinicized' – meaning that they must adopt the Chinese cultural identity as promoted by the CCP," Christian Headlines reported.
But for those in China who only worship God and stick to God's teachings, it's another story.
"[M]ore than 400 members of the Church of the Almighty were arrested between April and June," the daily added. "Government officials explained that the arrests were made to maintain social order during the CCP's centennial celebration."