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A church service at Kaizhuang Church in Xinyu, Jiangxi
These believers have been asked to replace their cross.
Photo: ChinaAid

Churches throughout Jiangxi received a warning in early July from authorities demanding that all crosses be removed, and instead they were to be replaced with the national flag or an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The warning also demanded that they keep all children away from church.

The response from churches was mixed. Many were too frightened to speak up and others openly refused to obey the orders. In retaliation, government agents demolished the cross of one church building in Xinyu, and another received a notice of intent to do the same. During a service at Kaixuan Church, two officials interrupted the believers' worship, demanding that the cross no longer be displayed. Church leaders were able to speak with them and diffuse the situation.

When confronted about children in the church, Liu, the leader of the Kaixuan Church, wisely responded with this statement: "Your policy is in conflict with the Constitution. When the children are born, they are citizens of the People's Republic of China, and they have freedom of belief. Children's freedom of belief cannot be interfered with. They can follow their parents' beliefs."

Pray for wisdom and guidance on the part of the church leaders in Jiangxi as they deal with these unreasonable demands. May their responses be expressed with gentleness, serving as a testimony of God's grace to those opposing them and a means of demonstrating the truth of the Living Christ.