Authorities of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) altered a story from the Bible, cited in academic books, to portray Jesus Christ as a murderer, according to a Sept. 22 report by the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News).
The altered texts, published by the CCP-owned Chinese University of Electronic Science and Technology, changed a well-known biblical passage to show Jesus killing a woman who had committed adultery.
According to the UCA News report, authorities changed the end of the famous gospel story. In the original, Jesus intervenes when a crowd cites the law as their justification for stoning an adulteress to death.
“Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone,” Jesus tells the angry crowd in the well-known Bible passage found in John 8:3-11.
Then, according to the Bible, the accusers left, one by one, and finally, Jesus refuses to condemn the woman.
In the gospel according to John, “The accusers left one by one, and finally, Jesus refuses to condemn the woman. … Jesus again straightened up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
“No one, sir,” she replied.
“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go away and from this moment sin no more.'”
However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) version produced for vocational students reads, “When the crowd disappeared, Jesus stoned the sinner to death saying, ‘I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead.'”
Life News website points out that the totalitarian CCP strictly controls both education and publications.
According to UCA News, a Chinese Catholic published the book on social networks, writing: “I want everyone to know that the Chinese Communist Party has always tried to distort the history of the Church, to slander our Church, and to make people hate our Church.”
A Christian vocational teacher named Matthew Wang confirmed to UCA News that the distorted history was in the book, reviewed by the Textbook Review Committee for Moral Education in Secondary Vocational Education.
According to believers quoted by the Catholic media, the book authors want to demonstrate that the rule of law is supreme in China. That respect for the law is essential for a smooth transfer to socialism with Chinese characteristics.
A Catholic priest told the same source that distorting the original text itself “is against morality and the law.”
“How can we still teach professional ethics with this book?” he asked.
“It is a sad social phenomenon in mainland China,” the cleric lamented.
Massimo Introvigne, an Italian sociologist, specialized in the study of new religions, pointed out that the story aims to highlight the supremacy of the law as dictated by the CCP.
“As told to Chinese students, the story teaches that the law and the Party are good and pure, and transcend the impure human beings who happen to represent them,” Introvigne said in Bitter Winter, a magazine focused on religious freedom and human rights in China.
“Even if the officers are corrupted, their decision should be accepted—because, honest or corrupted, they represent the Party, and the Party’s law should never be questioned,” the expert explained.
Introvigne noted that the distortion of the biblical passage is part of the process of “sinicization” that drives the CCP. He clarified adding it “—does not mean incorporating more Chinese cultural aspects into Chinese Christianity—but instead diluting Christianity so that it is not a threat to the values of the CCP.
“This is standard CCP theory, but totally distorts the meaning of Jesus’s teaching in John 8. Mobilizing Jesus for the CCP propaganda is blasphemous and offensive to Christians,” he said.