Foreign influence

The Economist recently looked at the evolving relationship between Christians and the Chinese Communist Party:

The Communist Party is struggling to manage the only cult in China bigger than itself—the Christian church. All down the country’s eastern seaboard it is hard to find a village that does not boast a spire or tower topped with a cross. To some in the party, this is a provocation, especially in the south-eastern province of Zhejiang around the coastal city of Wenzhou. Over the past 18 months, party leaders have ordered the demolition of such crosses. But this month the provincial branches of the Catholic Patriotic Association and the Protestant Christian Council—two of the government bodies that administer the official churches allowed in China—each issued an open letter to provincial officials condemning the demolitions.

The letters accuse the party of violating its own commitment to the rule of law. They add that the incidents have damaged the Communist Party’s image at home and abroad. It is, says Yang Fenggang of Purdue University in Indiana, the first time that leaders of official churches have come out openly on the side of ordinary believers against the Communist Party.

The article quotes a Chinese Communist Party leader who asserts that Christianity there should be “independent of foreign influence.” Christ told his followers to render to God what is His, and to Caesar what is his. Christianity is itself a foreign influence on the heart. No serious politician could believe it would be otherwise for the state.

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