Chinese Christians Forced to Make Choice Between Welfare Benefits or Belief

01/18/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – Chinese Christians in poor health who depend on the government’s welfare benefits are forced to choose between their belief or social benefits.

According to Bitter Winter magazine, several elderly Christians in Henan province were approached by local officials, asking them to remove religious items in their homes and hang up the portraits of President Xi Jinping or Chairman Mao Zedong in order for them to continue to receive welfare benefits.

Their rationale is that it’s the state that fills your pocket, not God, so the praise and worship belongs to the Party and its leaders.

A 60-year-old ill woman Song Lanyin, who relies on the minimum living subsidy provided by the government to survive, refused to take down decorations showing her Christian belief in her home as demanded by the visiting deputy mayor and the other officials. They then took it upon themselves to destroy all of the Christian symbols in her home, including a work of calligraphy with the words “God loves the world” and “Immanuel” written on it.

Yanjin County’s Wu Fengying also experienced similar harassment last August. Local government officials discovered and photographed Wu attending church gatherings, and warned her not to believe in God or else have her minimum living subsidy revoked.

Zhao Shun, on the other hand, had his house intruded by a village party secretary. He ripped a religious couplet off the door while Zhao was not present. Zhao was also threatened that his benefits will be revoked if he fails to remove religious symbols at his house. When Zhao confronted him later, on how Chinese constitution guarantees freedom of belief, the village party secretary replied that only fools believe in this provision.

*Names mentioned above are pseudonyms.

For interviews with Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

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