Chinese pastors were reportedly being forced to include President Xi Jinping's speech in their sermons during worship in line with the centenary celebration of the Chinese Communist Party last July 1.
CBN News said there were nine components of Xi's speech that were asked to be integrated into pastor's lectures and during discussions in Bible study groups during a conference meeting that involved the China Christian Council and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, CCP's controlled Protestant church.
As per CBN News, the nine components of Xi's speech that will be integrated into the sermon must "recognize the renewal of the Chinese nation," "the roots and blood of the CCP are in the people," the "four great achievements" of CCP, the development of the "five civilizations" under Xi's administration, the "six common values" of CCP," that "Socialism can save China," and that "Christians should trust the CCP" having seven decades of successful governance. Christians are also expected to "tell foreign hostile powers" that China's slaughter and bullying "is gone forever."
The "four great achievements" of the CCP includes the "Socialist revolution," the "Socialist society" of Chairman Mao, the "Socialist reform" of Deng Xiaoping, and the "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" of Xi.
The "five civilizations" involve economical, social, material, spiritual and political developments under Xi. On the other hand, the "six common values" are freedom, democracy, peace, justice, fairness, and development.
Bitter Winter added that the pastors were expected by the government to "hail" the president and CCP at the end of their lecture or Bible study with "Long live the great, glorious, and correct Communist Party!"
As per Bitter Winter, the China Christian Council was established by the Three-Self Patriotic Movement as its religious affairs arm in 1980 for lay and clergy formation in China and so that it could participate in the Geneva-based World Council of Churches. The CCC, through its Chairman Wu Wei, then instructed pastors to "insist" on the people that the original intention of CCP to "put the people first" never changed through their sermons that are intended to unite the faithful in China and lead them to thank God for CCP.
"The Chinese Communist Party has never changed its original intention to put the people first, establish an extensive patriotic united front, unite the citizens' hearts, gather strength, and continue to explore and innovate. Thanking God for putting us in this great era" and "continuing to learn the spirit of General Secretary Xi's speech," Wei said.
Bitter Winter said that it was discussed during the conference that those who will not obey as instructed would only prove they are not "'sinicized', which is a necessary condition to be allowed to survive" in China. As per CBN News, Xi released an order for all religions in China to be "sinicized" that is to undergo indoctrination on the Communist Party's maxims to ensure loyalty to the government.
Xi's speech during the 100th anniversary of the CCP must be the focal point for "study" among pastors in China since it celebrated the "Marxist roots and nature of the CCP." Bitter Winter describes Xi as one having a "cult of his personality reminiscent of Chairman Mao" who has instituted a "crackdown on all religions stronger than in the previous decades."
The CCP held various huge public events on July 1 to celebrate its 100th anniversary notwithstanding the pandemic and after previously imposing as illegal such events. The gatherings were said to spread the CCP propaganda and "exalt Xi Jinping."
In line with anniversary, the CCP setup a hotline for citizens to report any "false" statements they hear or read regarding the government's history. Xi also released a guide that "corrects," or whitewashes, the CCP's history. The CCP also mandated Chinese schools to teach their ideologies to children, as well as, to inculcate their propaganda in the schools' administration and in scientific research out of their commitment to become an "innovation powerhouse" in the world.
The CCP released a policy on "Freedom of Religious Belief" last February set to stop people from believing any faith except their propaganda. A series of arrests in China involving underground Catholic priests, seminarians, and a bishop has increased fears of persecution among Christians afterwards.