(CHRISTIAN POST) – China's state-approved churches that were forced to close due to COVID-19 are only permitted to reopen if they praise the Chinese Communist Party in sermons and extol President Xi Jinping, according to a new report.
Religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter reports that the Religious Affairs Bureau of Zhengzhou, the capital of the province of Henan, released in mid-June a list of 42 prerequisites for churches that sought to reopen. Among the requirements, churches were ordered to "intensify patriotic education" and "study China's religious policies," Bitter Winter reported.
Additionally, churches were ordered to promote the "four requirements," a nationwide campaign launched in 2018 to promote the "sinicization" of religion. The campaign involves requiring religious communities to ritually raise the national flag; promoting the Chinese Constitution and laws, core socialist values, and "China's excellent traditional culture."