Pastors of churches registered with the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM, the government-controlled Protestant church organisation) have been ordered to preach sermons based on President Xi Jinping’s recent speech marking the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In the president’s speech, delivered on 1 July, he eulogised the party’s achievements and stated: “Only socialism can save China, and only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China. We will never allow anyone to bully, oppress or subjugate China. Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.“
Officials issued the order to pastors at a national conference of the TSPM and the China Christian Council (which oversees education in TSPM churches) on 8 July led by Xu Xiaohong, chairman of the TSPM, and Wu Wei, chairman of the China Christian Council. Both officials are state-appointed and both groups are overseen by the United Front Work Department of the CCP. The theme of the conference was “Learning and Implementing the Spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Speech of July 1”.
At the conference, pastors were told that they are expected to make President Xi’s speech a main object of study and preaching and a matter of discussion for Bible study groups. Failure to do so would demonstrate that their churches are not fully “Sinicised” (i.e. not fully Chinese in character and not in line with the core values of the CCP), which is necessary for churches to be allowed to operate.
TSPM chairman Xu Xiaohong (pictured addressing the conference) offered the following nine-point model sermon based on President Xi Jinping’s speech:
- The CCP and President Xi Jinping have realised the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
- Christians should frequently repeat two slogans: “Long live the great, glorious and correct Chinese Communist Party!” “Long live the great, glorious and heroic Chinese people!”
- The roots and blood of the CCP are in the people. It is the people’s own party.
- The CCP has completed the “four great achievements”: a Socialist revolution and the construction of a Socialist society under Chairman Mao, a Socialist reform under Deng Xiaoping, and a Socialism with Chinese characteristics under Xi Jinping.
- Under Xi Jinping, the CCP has brought to a great and harmonious development the “five civilizations”: material, political, spiritual, social, and economical.
- The CCP has brought to the world the “six common values” of humankind: peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom.
- Christians should trust the CCP, as it has more than 70 years of experience in successfully governing the country. “The 70-year history of the founding of the People’s Republic of China has fully proved that without the Communist Party, there would be no New China, and without the Communist Party, there would be no great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
- Christians should join the CCP in telling foreign hostile powers that “the era when the Chinese nation was slaughtered and bullied is gone forever!”
- Christians should support the leaders of the CCP since “only Socialism can save China”. “For one hundred years, the Communist Party of China has united and led the Chinese people to write the most magnificent epic in the history of the Chinese nation.” “History and the people have chosen the Chinese Communist Party. The leadership of the CCP is the most essential feature of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, the greatest advantage of the Socialist system with Chinese characteristics, the fundamental lifeblood of the Party and the country, and the interests and destiny of the people of all ethnic groups across the country. The Communist Party of China has always represented the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. It has no special interests of its own. It has never represented the interests of any interest group, any powerful group, or any privileged class. Any attempt to separate and antagonise the Chinese Communist Party from the Chinese people will never succeed! More than 95 million Chinese Communists would not agree! More than 1.4 billion Chinese people would not agree!”
(Barnabas Fund, Bitter Winter, UCA News)