Date: January 5, 2021
Lintel plaques on courtyard doors of Zhaojialing Catholic private houses.
(Photo: Bitter Winter)
(Zhaojialing Village, Shanxi Province—Jan. 05, 2021) As part of the CCP's crackdown on Christianity, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials are forcing Catholics in the village of Zhaojialing, Xiangyuan County, a nationally known pilgrimage site since the 19th century, to remove plaques, images, or banners with references to religion. Instead of referencing Jesus, Heaven, Saint Mary, and the Saints, for example, authorities have "urged" Catholics living in Zhaojialing village to display secular phrases or images.
Many traditional Chinese houses have displayed lintel plaques on their courtyard doors referencing God's grace and blessings. Chinese authorities began to rectify the door plaques of Catholics' private residences with religious references, however, from the beginning of May. They have forced Catholics to replace phrases with religious keywords to secular ones. Examples include:
- "The overflowing of heavenly grace" to "harmony at home leads to all-around prosperity."
- "Grace-filled homeland" to "Happiness-filled homeland."
- "The glorious light illuminates" to "A quiet, peaceful, and leisure living."
In addition to altering door plaques, government officials have changed the wording on road signs in the village, for example:
- "The Street of Saint Mary" to "The Street of Harmony;"
- "The Gate of Heaven" to "The Gate of Roses."
CCP officials have also replaced scriptures previously displayed on both sides of the streets with slogans of praise for the Chinese Communist Party.
According to Bitter Winter,
It is not the first time that Catholic images and signs have been eliminated, including in churches of the government-controlled Patrioti
c Catholic Church. For example, in May this year, images of saints and a stele of martyrs in a government-controlled Catholic church in Xingtai city in the central province of Hebei were covered up.