East Asia

Officials order church to replace cross with Chinese flag

Xi Jinping. Premier of China, whose government has imposed a crackdown on Christians

Officials in the central Chinese province of Hunan  issued a 20,000 Yuan ($3,000) fine to a village church and ordered the congregation to take down a cross and put up a Chinese flag.

Local officials claim the church in the village of Xuzhou was built without approval from the religious affairs bureau.

The latest action by Chinese officials this time in Hunan province follows the recent demolition of two churches in Shaanxi province, north-west China in an apparent continued crackdown on Christian activity.

New religion regulations came into force across China on 1 February 2018, which introduced tighter regulations on the construction of “sites established for religious activities”, requiring them to be “in harmony with the needs of urban planning.”

In November 2017, Communist Party officials in Yugan county, south-east China “encouraged” Christians to replace Christian posters in their homes with portraits of President Xi Jinping.

The local Party Chairman stated Christians would “realize their mistakes and think: we should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help.”