Many Christians in the United States and around the world feel free to put up Christian symbols, such as crosses, scripture passages, and pictures of Jesus, inside and outside their homes. Christians in Southeastern China, however, were recently told by state officials to take down these images and symbols. Instead, they were given posters of President Xi Jinping to display. Most of them complied since, in impoverished rural areas, they feared the loss of government support.

In another incident in 2015, over 1,200 crosses were torn down from church buildings in Zhejiang Province and hundreds of house church leaders were arrested. “Many rural people are ignorant,” said one official. “They think God is their Savior.” The Communist Party prefers that people look to the state for help. It appears that the Communist Party in China is gearing up to crack down on Christians who are independent of the state-sanctioned church. Since the majority of Chinese Christians operate in underground “house churches” outside of government control, officials are concerned that these groups could create negative views of the Party. READ MORE