Many people who Believe in Christ in a poor territory in rural China have exchange posters of Jesus Christ for pictures of President Xi Jinping as part of a local government poverty-relief programme, a media report said.
The Yugan county in Jiangxi province has a big Christian community and about ten per cent of its population is Christian.
More than eleven per cent of its one million inhabitant live below the country’s official poverty line.
As the local government make its efforts better to reduce poverty, many believers have been told to take down the images of Jesus, the crosses and the gospel couplets that form the centerpieces of their homes, and hang picture of Xi instead, Hong-Kong based South China Morning Post reported.
The practice hearkens back to the period of the personality cult around late Chairman Mao Zedong, whose portraits were once ever-present in Chinese homes, the report said.
Xi Jinping has also received the status of Mao and his successor Deng Xiaoping in the party as he is the only head after them whose thought has been included in the party’s Constitution.
In Yugan, the officially non- believer party is competing for influence with Christianity.
By some calculation, Christian population in China is estimated to be around 90 million. Under Xi, the CPC has made ending poverty by 2020 a top concern.
The report cited that a local social media account over the weekend that in Yugan’s Huangjinbu township, the CPC cadres visited poor Christian families to boost the party’s poverty-relief scheme and assist them solve their material problems.
The officials successfully “soften the strong ice in their hearts” and ” changed them from believing in religion to believing in the party”, the report said.
As a result, more than 600 villagers “willinly” remove the religious texts and paintings they had in their homes, and replaced them with 453 pictures of Xi.
Qi Yan the Chairman of the Huangjinbu people’s congress and the person in charge of the township’s poverty-relief drive said that the campaign had been flowing across the county since March.
We let them known that getting ill is a physical thing and that the people who can really assist them are the Communist Party and General Secretary Xi.
The population of christian families in Huangjinbu is about 5,000 to 6,000 or about a third of the total, Qi said.
“Many rural people are uneducated. They believe God is their rescuer After our small group work, they’ll notice their mistakes and think: we should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help,” Qi said.
Qi said that the community government had dispense more than 1,000 pictures of Xi to the people, and that all of them had been hung in homes.