By Mark Ellis –
In a textbook aimed at teaching ethics and law to high school students, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) changed John 8, egregiously altering the meaning of a famous scene demonstrating the mercy of Jesus Christ.
Instead of Jesus saving the adulterous woman from being stoned to death — the CCP’s version has Christ killing the woman himself, while calling himself a “sinner.”
The textbook was published by the government-run University of Electronic Science and Technology Press, according to Aleteia.
In the CCP account, Jesus forgave the sins of a woman who committed adultery. The crowd wanted to stone the woman to death as per the law. But Jesus said, ‘Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.’ Hearing this, they slipped away one by one.
Then the biblical narrative changes dramatically.
When the crowd disappeared, Jesus stoned the sinner to death himself saying, “I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead.”
This is the traditional biblical account of John 8:3-11:
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The alteration of Scripture fits a pattern of offenses by the CCP against the church. In a previous affront in 2019, churches in the Henan province of China were forced to replace displays of the Ten Commandments with quotes from President Xi Jinping.
China’s campaign to put a Chinese government stamp on religion originated in a speech by Xi at the National Religious Work Conference in April 2016. At the time, Xi stated that in order to “actively guide the adaptation of religions to socialist society, an important task is supporting China’s religions’ persistence in the direction of sinicization.”