Officials: Village not “Civilized” if Places of Worship Present

The Chinese authorities have linked religious issues with the local governments’ performance in office, intensifying religious persecution.

By appraising an area as a “civilized city” or “civilized village,” the Chinese government is attempting to set an idealized societal model. To do so, an area’s economic development and construction of “spiritual civilization” are used as the selection criteria, but specific standards vary from place to place. If an area is designated as “civilized,” it will receive recognition or be financially rewarded.

The presence of religion, however, is regarded negatively, and to receive government’s appraisal, approval, and financial support, communities are forced to get rid of places of worship. This is yet another means by the regime to eliminate religion.

On November 28, 2018, the government of Dingzhai village under the jurisdiction of Xinxiang city in central China’s Henan Province demolished a Buddhist temple. According to residents, the village’s Party secretary told them that since Dingzhai was selected as a “civilized village,” the state would give the village a reward of one million RMB (nearly $149,000), but it won’t be granted unless the temple is demolished. read more