ADHRRF – In April 2018, the Religious Affairs Bureau of Huai’an City in Jiangsu Province issued a document about the implementation of the state control of Three-Self Churches (government-sanctioned churches in China), requiring that in front of every church must stand a flagpole with a national flag and that congregants must sing the national anthem at congregations. Afterward, the phenomenon of raising the national flag and singing the national anthem occurred in many local churches.
At 1 p.m. on April 22, in Xumei Church, a Three-Self Church in Wangying Town, Huai’an City, congregants suddenly started to sing the national anthem and raise the national flag. The members of this church said, “Now the government specifies that believers must raise the national flag and sing the national anthem in the worship service. Today, we not only raised the flag and sang the anthem, but also sent a video through Wechat on the mobile phone to other churches to make it known to everyone.”
Mr. Zhou, the choir leader of Jiedong Church, another Three-Self Church in Laozhangji Town, said to the reporter, “The central authorities delivered the spirit of meeting that it is imperative to raise the national flag and sing the national anthem first before church meetings. Now Xi Jinping is attaching great importance to this matter.” He added that their church will also raise national flag on National Day and Christmas Day.
It’s also known that another Three-Self Church, Huazhuang Church in Mianhua Town also began to sing the national anthem before the meeting.
Many believers feel helpless about the authorities’ mandatory requirements for Christian churches to raise the national flag and sing the national anthem. A believer said with deep emotion: “Raising the national flag and singing the national anthem in a church is the same as King Nebuchadnezzar forcing people to worship his gold statue and gold calf. Three friends of Daniel didn’t do so and therefore were thrown into the fiery furnace.”
It is noted that the Chinese government has forcibly torn down nearly 2,000 crosses since 2014, and thereupon the sign of the authorities, national flag has started to be displayed in Christian churches compulsorily. Today, this phenomenon continues to spread. People commented that hanging a national flag in the church is an in-depth practice of the authorities’ policy of Sinicization of Christianity and is an important step to make the religion “be surnamed party.”