Seminary church in China pledges allegiance to communist state

A cross on an underground Catholic church is silhouetted in Tianjin November 10, 2013. | REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoo

A seminary church singing the Chinese national anthem during its commencement exercises this year is perceived as pledging allegiance to the communist state instead of the Christian faith.

The Christian persecution watchdog in the state, China Aid, reported Monday that a video circulated in the country and showed the graduating students of Zhejiang Theological Seminary singing their national anthem.

Pastor Pan Xingwang, the seminary's president, reportedly backs the state's demolition of Christian churches and crosses under the Sinicized Christianity and "Five Entries and Five Transformations" campaign, which forces Christians to submit to China's own version of Christianity and uphold state values. China Aid also charges Pan of playing a critical role in the ongoing Christian persecution in the state as well as for making the seminary in Zhejiang a haven for Communist pastors.

During this year's spring semester opening ceremony, Pan alluded to the state's crackdown on Christian churches in the province and urged students to treat this as a lesson.

"Pray for the churches, remind students to be more alert, make a clear faith, care for the churches, respect the law and be good shepherds of the new era," the publication quoted Pan as saying. "Students need to know how to behave appropriately within boundaries and determine their place, not do criminal things, say false words or speak in ways which cause disputes."

Yet despite the ongoing religious persecution, the atheist state with the world's largest population might just turn out to be the world's largest Christian population as well by 2030.

"We are overjoyed with what the Lord has already done in China," Rodney Pennington, vice president for mobilization of OMF International, told The Christian Post in an interview.

"China will almost certainly have the most evangelical Christians," declared Pennington, "and that will greatly shape the global evangelical Church in the coming years."

China Aid President Bob Fu also revealed in an earlier interview with The Christian Post that China's crackdown on Christians stemmed from authorities who worried over the growing population and influence of Chinese Christians.