Skip to Content

8 things you need to know about current oppression of religion by the Chinese government

A round-up of Chinese news and social media

By Print Preview


Down goes Jesus, up goes Xi. Twitter from


Eight is perfect harmony in Chinese tradition. If you ascend to live on the 8th Floor, you are especially blessed. So, learn these eight truths to rise above the ordinary crowd of news-followers.

1 The age of managerial imperialism in China.

We listened to President Xi Jinping’s entire speech to the Communist Party annual gathering. It was like listening to a managerial report. His game plan is managerial competence in aggressive suppression of domestic opponents and the attainment of international supremacy. He picked his internal circle for their managerial abilities and loyalty, not for their charisma. Don't mistake this group as a bunch of ideologues. They use ideology to manage their people. But they could come to believe their own rhetoric resulting in an era of increasingly harsh treatment of religion..

Chinese Communist managers must adapt--“Sinicize”--religion to support the Chinese socialist society. At a recent meeting, the heads of the officially approved religious associations all vowed to fight "desinicization" in their religions. This means to fight the infiltration of any foreign ideas into Chinese religion.

2 The Xi personality cult is growing. He is being hailed as the “core leader,” which means that he can over-rule other leaders in the inner circle. Xi Jinping thought was recently enshrined along with Mao Zedong’s Thought in the Communist Party constitution. Mao was the founding leader of the People’s Republic of China.

Mao took on a god-like appearance in Chinese propaganda. The “Great Helmsman,” as he was called, thought that Chinese people were like sacks of potatoes who needed someone godlike to inspire them to action. In the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976, the Red Guards made Mao and Mao Thought the absolute touchstone of hope and judgment. Although that terrible episode soured Xi’s generation on such outlandish absolutist leaders, there is a constant temptation of dictatorial Chinese leaders to fall into the arms of popular adulation as a means of securing power. Mao is still counted as a “mystical presence” by many ordinary people. Taxi cab drivers sport Mao portraits hanging from their mirrors and tales of how his presence saved them in car wrecks. There are even Mao Temples and gargantuan icons scattered around the countryside areas of special significance in Mao's biography.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Although in the past Xi has denounced “personality cults” around Mao, the wave of tens of thousands of public portraits shouting his hosannas and other activities like teaching every school child about The Leader’s thought seems like a massive revival of a state-promoted religious cult. His and associates’ speeches have shown an inclination to the miraculous, at least in this-worldly terms:  in Hong Kong he predicted “new miracles” were possible and in Pakistan, his vice premier also called for the creation of “new miracles.” Worldly rhetoric, surely; verging on the divine, maybe some local officials will start to promote this trend.

Bob Fu, president of China Aid, which documents religious policy in China, is alarmed, He says that the Communist Party is seeking to “exert total control over all areas of life” of Chinese citizens. The official ideology of this total control will include an eradication of alternatives to atheism.

3 Big drive in some areas to replace Jesus with Xi as savior of the Chinese people. (see #4)

4 Blame for poverty is being put on religion, particularly Christianity, as an “opium of the people.”

Communists claim religion perpetuates poverty while Xi’s Thought will end it.

A Chinese social media account acclaimed Yugan’s Huangjinbu township Party cadres for their house-to-house visits with Christians to melt “the hard ice in their hearts” so that they were “transformed them from believing in religion to believing in the party.” The township is located in an area of the poor southeastern province of Jiangxi that is about ten percent or more Christian. After some warnings that their share of the poverty relief fund would be cut, they “voluntarily” got rid of their Bible verses and portraits of Jesus or of the Cross and put up Leader Xi’s portraits in their living rooms.

Qi Yan, the local Communist leader, told the South China Morning Post, “Many poor households have plunged into poverty because of illness in the family. Some resorted to believing in Jesus to cure their illnesses. But we tried to tell them that getting ill is a physical thing and that the people who can really help them are the Communist Party and General Secretary [of the Communist Party] Xi.” Qi added, “Many rural people are ignorant. They think God is their savior ---After our cadres’ work, they’ll realize their mistakes and think: we should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help.”

At the next Chinese New Year’s celebrations, party leaders hope that no more gospel couplets will be hung on the front doors. They plan on putting Leader Xi everywhere.


5 Christianity is the religious movement most feared by the Chinese government.

“Appeal to a Higher Power” means Communism is an ersatz religion.

Dictionary definition of ersatz: being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation, i.e. ersatz turf or ersatz intellectuals. First used in 1871. Mirriam-Webster Dictionary

6 Communist apologetic for government corruption: religion did it!

Beijing Daily warns that “feudalistic superstitious activities” lead to corruption.  “Superstition is thought pollution and spiritual anesthesia that cannot be underestimated and must be thoroughly purged…As an official, if you spend all your time on crooked ways, sooner or later you’ll come to grief.”

Li Chuncheng, former deputy party honcho in Sichuan, used feng shui (pronounced feng swey) to find the crooked path. Feng shui is a traditional method of divining the good and bad influences of one’s environment. Li used it to guide him in his corrupt career of bribery and abuse of power for which he was jailed for 13 years in 2015.

Security chief Zhou Yongkang, who made all other officials quake in their boots, used occult sources for his power. He was jailed for life for leaking state secrets to qi-gong expert, fortune-teller and healer Cao Yongzheng, known as the “Xinjiang Sage” of far western China. In the 1990s, a People's Daily article claimed that with a single look at the face he could tell a person's future and with a single touch could heal incurable illnesses.

Chinese courts say that Cao was also able to pocket several billion dollars in "illegal profits." He very well might be the highest paid fortune teller in world history. Supposedly, he is in custody of the Chinese government after testifying against the security chief Zhou.

7 In sheer numbers and ferocity, the Chinese government has become the leader of an international atheist movement. Renewed effort to teach and demand atheism.

“Communism begins from the outset with atheism,” said an article this Fall in People’s Daily.

Beijing Daily, the official voice of the government, warned Communist Party officials this Fall not to “pry to god or worship Buddha” because good Communists are atheists.

8 Religion is “soaking into China” from outside influences, claims the government.

In an editorial in the People’s Daily, Wang Zuoan, the head of China’s religious affairs bureau, approved the new rules approved last winter to restrict religion because of “The foreign use of religion to infiltrate [China] intensifies by the day and religious extremist thought is spreading in some areas.”



Signup for Journey newsletter!

Privacy by SafeUnsubscribe


Sign up for Journey newsletter!

Privacy by SafeUnsubscribe

Upcoming Features