Communist Tunes Supersede Praise in Three-Self Churches

Xinjiang Residents Told to Worship Xi Jinping
Portrait of Xi Jinping (taken from VOA website)

09/7/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – In less than a month, China will embrace the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. To ensure that all are celebrating this occasion, the state-sanctioned churches have been hosting a series of events to show their loyalty to the communist party. One way to do that, is asking churchgoers to sing communist songs at church or have competition of these “red tunes.”

According to Bitter Winter, about two months ago, all state-run churches in Nanchang city, Jiangxi province received a notice from local authorities, ordering them to launch a choir song competition.

“Believers chose initially to sing a few hymns, but after practicing them for just two or three days, they were forced to replace them with patriotic songs because city officials said that hymns were unacceptable,” according to an angry church co-worker who was forced to partake in the competition. “Now, they have to sing songs praising the Party and aren’t allowed to sing songs praising God. Isn’t that persecution?”

Bitter Winter also received directives for other places such as Fuzhou and Quanzhou demanding churches to hold a series of activities “to praise the Party and bless the motherland” ahead of the 70th anniversary. Similar activities are taking place all over the country.

Another Three-Self church co-worker from Zibo city in Shandong province also stated, “We absolutely can’t sing the song Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China, nor can we sing songs that praise Mao Zedong because they conflict with our faith.”

“Many believers cannot accept this. We initially intended simply to go through the motions, but the Religious Affairs Bureau is very serious about this: they make recordings of us singing and play them on television. It is used for propaganda purposes and exploited for political gains,” added the believer.

Many Three-Self churches face the dilemma of possibly losing their gathering places if they refuse to participate, or betraying their faith if they do so. Whether to sing red songs and how to sing them, has become a test for these believers.

Source: ICC