Chinese netizens have expressed outrage over a Christian theme park allegedly sponsored by local authorities in Changsha, in central China’s Hunan province.
The government should not encourage religious activities in a secular country that separates religion and politics, the Hindustan Times website reported them as saying.
The park in Changsha Xingsha Ecological Park, which covers about 150,000 square meters, is the largest Christian theme park in central and south China, Global Times said citing a local TV station report.
A Christian Church and Bible institute were built in the park, Chen Zhi, president of the Christian Council of Hunan Province, was quoted as saying by the TV station. The church will open in June 2017, said the report.
Netizens expressed their anger after learning local authorities subsidized the project.
A user on Sina Weibo — China’s Twitter — said 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.
Another Weibo user named “Sanxiaren” said Hunan is the birthplace of Chairman Mao Zedong and a sacred place like this would never tolerate the overflowing of religion.
A report released during the 9th National Chinese Christian Congress in 2013 showed that more than 2.4 million Protestants were baptized in China from 2007-12, with experts saying that more people are turning to religion for help and spiritual consolation.