China Christians Worried After President Xi’s Re-Election

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

BEIJING (Worthy News) – Christians in Communist-run China faced potentially more difficulties Monday after China’s Communist Party on Sunday formally reelected Xi Jinping, the party’s general secretary, for another five years.

The move paves the way for his historic third term as Chinese president, raising concerns that his crackdown on the country’s roughly 100 million Christians would continue.

In recent years, the Xi government launched a systematic campaign to cut China’s Christian demographic and ensure the spread of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s ideology.

“Surveillance in China is among the most oppressive and sophisticated in the world,” noted the Christian advocacy group Open Doors.

“Church attendance is rigorously monitored, and many churches are being closed down – whether they are independent or belong to the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (the officially state-sanctioned Protestant church in China). It remains illegal for under-18s to attend church,” the group added.

All meeting venues had to close during the COVID-19 crisis, but some churches were forced to remain closed after restrictions were lifted and were quietly phased out, according to Christians familiar with the situation.


“The old idea that churches will only be perceived as being a threat if they become too large, too political or invite foreign guests, is now an unreliable guideline,” Open Doors explained.

Yet despite the reported crackdown on Christians and other groups deemed dangerous by the government, some dare to protest.

Three days before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) convened its 20th congress to effectively re-elect Xi, a 48-year-old man draped protest banners from Beijing’s Sitong Bridge. They were visible from one of the capital’s busiest transportation routes.

The handwritten banners urged students and workers to strike and remove the “dictator and state traitor Xi Jinping.” Then Peng Lifa, whose online name is Peng Zaizhou, further challenged China’s President Xi Jinping, shouting through a loudspeaker, “We want to eat. We want freedom. We want votes!”

Mo Shaoping, a Beijing-based lawyer who served as a defense attorney for Chinese government critic and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, said he would represent Peng if asked by Peng’s family.

Peng is suspected of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” “inciting subversion of state power,” and “subverting state power” — the most severe charge. Authorities have not commented on Peng’s case.


On the day of the overpass protest, Wang Dan, a political scientist and former leader of the June 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, told the Voice of America (VOA) Mandarin service that the banners were significant.

“In such a dark era, when almost everyone remains silent, the courage of this brave man to stand up for himself is extremely astonishing,” Wang said. “It is not an exaggeration to call him a contemporary Tank Man,” he added. He referred to the iconic photo of the still-unidentified person who confronted Chinese army tanks deployed to quell the pro-democracy Tiananmen protests in 1989.

“Regardless of the future of this man, this feat has and will go down in history,” Wang stressed. “It will tell future generations that even in the darkest of times, there are people who will stand up for themselves. This warrior is doing justice for 1.4 billion Chinese people and is a representative of the Chinese soul.”

Chinese officials have declined to discuss the protests publicly, while state media ignored the events and censors blocked references to them on social media.

Yet there was even some tension at the CCP gathering, with China’s former President Hu Jintao unexpectedly escorted out of the closing ceremony of the CCP congress.

Hu, 79, Xi Jinping’s immediate predecessor, was seated to the left of Xi.

Footage seen by Worthy News showed him being led off the stage of the main auditorium of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing by two stewards.


The video showed a steward repeatedly trying to lift Hu from his seat, drawing concerned looks from nearby officials. Hu then put his hand on a sheet of paper placed on Xi’s folder, but Xi quickly put his hand on the sheet.

Xi initially seemed to ignore him but briefly smiled as Hu was led away, with officials later explaining he needed rest after “not feeling well.”

President Xi preferred to focus on his achievements than those of the previous leader, telling the congress participants that China’s economy “has high resilience, sufficient potential, and room for maneuver.”

China will open its doors even wider, Xi also said to dozens of journalists packed into a room inside central Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

President Xi spoke while unveiling the new members of the Party’s highest political body, the Politburo Standing Committee.

“China’s development is inseparable from the world, and the world also needs China,” Xi told them.

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