As the Left in America grows more authoritarian and intolerant of dissent by the day, it’s useful to keep in mind what life is like in the kind of totalitarian state the United States would be if Leftists got everything on their Christmas wish list. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) offered an illustration of that this week, as they warned Chinese Christians that Christmas celebrations were strictly forbidden. It’s not hard to imagine rabid Leftists calling Christmas “white supremacist” and doing the same thing here before too long.
According to Radio Free Asia, police contacted a pastor in Guangdong province Wednesday to make sure his church didn’t have anything planned for Christmas. “In our town, we’re not allowed Christmas gatherings, not even parties,” the pastor explained. “This is also happening in Henan [province] and other places, using the pandemic as a pretext. We can only meet online now.”
In another Chinese province, Shandong, it was the same story. A Shandong pastor said that “they warned us in the run-up to Christmas that there are to be no activities [related to Christmas]. It’s the same for some of the churches outside [town]. We can only have underground activities.”
At the same time, “government censors appeared to have scrubbed references to the festival from social media platforms, as local officials in the southwestern region of Guangxi warned primary and secondary schools, students and parents not to stage any Christmas activities.” The ChiComs are justifying all this under the slogan “We want cultural self-confidence! Ban foreign goods and foreign festivals!”
Bob Fu of ChinaAid, a Christian rights group based in the United States, explained: “Once again, they are using legalistic methods to restrict and undermine the religious freedoms of Chinese citizens. The police and state security police will now intervene in the case of online religious activities, in the next step in the CCP’s suppression of religious freedom.”
There is little doubt about that. Bitter Winter, which tracks infringements of religious liberty and human rights in China and elsewhere, reported Tuesday that “on December 3 and 4, Xi Jinping personally presided on the first National Conference on Work Related to Religious Affairs the CCP held since 2016. Xi spoke at the Conference, and asked for a more in-depth study of Karl Marx’s texts on religion by all those involved in the management of religious activities in China. He also reiterated that “Sinicization” of religion means its alignment with the CCP’s principles, goals, and directions, and lamented that the process he started with the 2016 conference is not advancing quickly enough.”
Xi singled out Christians as being in particular need of this “Sinicization.” According to Pastor Xu Xiaohong, chairman of the Chinese Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee, “churches are expected to leave aside less important matters and focus on two issues, prevention on COVID-19 and the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.” He emphasized that “we must understand that the main aim of each Christian community is to rally Christian believers around the CCP and the government.”
The CCP goes to extraordinary lengths to break the power of Christianity over the hearts and minds of Christians, and to replace it with itself. Bitter Winter reported in late November 20 about the Chinese government’s anti-Christian in Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Southeast China. Many of the Yi people follow an indigenous shamanistic religion, but many have been converting to Christianity. Bitter Winter reported that in order “to counter the influence of Christianity, the CCP has ‘invented’ a religion called Bimoism, from the Yi word for shaman, bimo. CCP-controlled ‘Bimoist’ temples and organizations have been created, giving to Yi shamanism a structure it never had.”
Also according to Bitter Winter, while Chinese Christians are not allowed to pray for Christian martyrs, they are forced to pray for those who were killed in what the Communist Chinese refer to as the “People’s War of Resistance Against the Japanese Aggression.” What’s more, “Jesus as King of Peace was also prayed for the ‘peaceful reunification’ of China, with an eye on Taiwan.” There is no way that Christians can avoid paying this obeisance to the state and honoring the Communist Party’s martyrs while ignoring their own, for “churches are requested to submit evidence of the relevant activities [text, video and photo materials] to the Media Ministry Department of the China Christian Council.” Those that do not do so, of course, face a panoply of punitive measures.
The precarious position of Christians in China should be a cautionary tale for the U.S. of the dangers of giving too much power to the all-encompassing state. But it’s much more likely, of course, that if the Left pays any attention to the developments in China at all, it will be to use them as a blueprint.