To the Catholic Church, French missionary Auguste Chapdelaine is a saint, martyred for his faith 160 years ago in China. To Communist Party officials, he is a devilish rapist, bandit and spy.
The finishing touches are being put to a new museum in Dingan, the village where he died, celebrating the “patriotism” of his execution and condemning the “spiritual opium” of religion.
Inside, Catholic vestments and chalices are displayed near a life-sized diorama of a white-robed Chapdelaine kneeling before the Qing dynasty magistrate who had him tortured and killed.
Outside, a six-meter bronze mural shows the missionary confined in a cage designed to suffocate captives to death over several days.
The facility is part of a local tourism drive, but also fits into the ruling party’s nationalist narrative and comes as increasingly assertive authorities in Beijing decry the influence of “Western values”. Read More