A new Christian theme park–the largest in China–is set to open in June 2017. The Xingsha Ecological Park will be in a sprawling 150,000 square meters in Changsa, the capital of central China’s Hunan province, and features a 260 foot tall Christian church in the middle of the park, The UK Daily Mail reports.
The park is expected to be a major tourist attraction. It will be a place of prayer, site seeing and photography.
Many local residents are outraged after learning that the government subsidized the religious attraction. Citizens are worried that the park will undermine widespread secular beliefs and they see that the project contradicts the main government, which is atheist.
However, many local residents are outraged after learning that the government subsidized the religious attraction. Citizens are worried that the park will undermine widespread secular beliefs and they see that the project contradicts the main government, which is atheist.
A user in Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, wrote “the government should be alert to the penetration of religious ideas that contradict China’s mainstream ideology, which might pose a threat to political security.”
Zhang Yiwu, a professor and cultural scholar at Peking University, said,” Many local governments are struggling for progress during industrial transformation, and religion is being used for cultural and tourist development.”
According to The Guardian, Neo-Maoists have launched an online crusade against a “Christianity theme park.”
A neo-Maoist scholar and commentator, Guo Songmin, wrote online, “The whole church thing is as inconceivable as a visitor from outer space and is largely a cultural invasion.” Guo demanded that the government replace the church’s cross with a red star.
Many of the park’s critics argued that the church violates the people’s freedom not to believe in God and urged the immediate demolition of the structure.
Dailymailcouk. (2017). Mail Online. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4200282/470m-Christian-theme-park-built-China.html
Cbncom. (2017). CBNcom (beta). http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/cwn/2017/february/china-opens-largest-christian-park-sparks-outrage
Theguardiancom. (2017). The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/09/christianity-theme-park-in-mao-zedongs-home-province-sparks-outrage