Churches in China are being forced to sing songs praising the state instead of God.

The communist government is banning traditional hymns and ordering registered churches to use a new ‘hymnbook’.

Religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter reports that the Religious Affairs Bureau has prohibited Three-Self churches in Qingdao city in the eastern province of Shandong from using their current hymnbooks. Instead, Christians must sing from the Newly Compiled Hymns book, published by China’s National Christian Councils.

The Newly Compiled Hymns focus on loving China, respecting the elderly and parents, and celebrating birthdays and funerals.

The director of one of the churches said: “The hymns published by the government only promote political, secularised content. All believers are unwilling to sing them.”

The censoring of hymns is also reported in other provinces and cities.

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