Thousands of Christians in an impoverished village in rural Southeastern China have taken down posters of Jesus from their walls and replaced them with portraits of President Xi Jinping, after local government officials, as part of a poverty-relief programme, asked them to.
The new campaign seeks to “transform believers in religion into believers in the party”, the South China Morning Post reported, quoting officials.
Qi Yan, the chairman of the Huangjinbu People’s Congress and in charge of the poverty-relief drive in the village, said the campaign had been running since March.
“Many rural people are ignorant,” he said. “They think God is their saviour. After our cadres’ work, they’ll realise their mistakes and think: we should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the [Communist] party for help.”
More than 11% of the 10 lakh residents of Jiangxi’s Yugan county live below China’s official poverty line, the report said. The campaign is part of the government’s increased focus on alleviating poverty across the country by 2020.
A local social media account in Yugan said villagers had “willingly” removed 624 posters of Christian religious sayings and images and replaced them with 453 images of President Xi, The Washington Post reported.
The practice of hanging portraits of a leader resembles the personality cult around late Chairman Mao Zedong, whose portraits were once a common feature of Chinese homes, the newspaper said.
A resident from another township in Yugan told the South China Morning Post that many of his neighbours had been told to remove religious artefacts from their homes, and that they will not be given their quota from the poverty-relief fund if they did not do so.
Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest
Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.
Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.
The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.
Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.
His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.
Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”
At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.
It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!
Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.
Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.
Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.