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09/23/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – In preparation for the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing is asking all state-sanctioned religious groups, including churches, to host or participate in a series of celebrations or activities inspired by patriotism and communism.

All the official churches are asked to sing the national anthem, to practice the flag raising ceremony, and to pray for the homeland. All these activities must be documented and sent to the headquarters of the National Patriotic Association. Asia News reports that many parishes began the mass with the singing of the national anthem starting from yesterday.

The official Protestant churches are also requested to host artistic events and performances – mostly in the form of concert, choir competition, or dance. All these events are usually attended by members of the United Front, which oversees religion activities on behalf of the party.

Christians interviewed by China Aid express their anger at these measures. A Catholic in Hebei said that for these churches to be forced to participate in patriotic activities in any form, is against the faith of these believers. “The church I am at, at the end of August, every weekend we had to hold activities to sing songs praising the communist party or doing ‘loyalty dance’. All the faithful had to attend, and we could not ask for leave, since ‘upper level’ needed to see that many attended these events,” he said.

Another Christian from Fujian province shared that the church he attends also started a series of red songs, painting or photography competition to celebrate the national day. He said, “Now we are even forced to be patriotic, all the [official] churches nationwide are being forced to sing the red songs, which is something more than ridiculous, since red songs are basically linked to the chaotic era during the Cultural Revolution.”

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].