Officials replace religious images in China

HUANGJINBU, China — In China’s Jiangxi province, officials are removing religious images and replacing them with portraits of Xi Jinping, the nation’s leader.

Officials said the Christians there had “recognized their mistakes and decided not to entrust to Jesus but to the (Communist) Party,” according to UCA News, a Catholic news source in Asia.

The officials claimed Christians voluntarily removed 624 religious images and put up 453 portraits of the Communist Party leader. One Christian in the area told UCA News that officials had paid poor households in return for hanging Xi’s pictures.

Officials said they were “converting” Christians to Communist Party loyalty by alleviating poverty.

With the party’s new revised “Regulations on Religious Affairs” to be implemented Feb. 1, Chinese Christians and observers believe religious policy will closely follow Xi’s “Sinicization” model, UCA News reported. (TAB)