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Government notice lists privately established Christian gathering site as top demolition priority

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A cross on a church in Hangzhou was demolished on Feb. 27
according to the provincial campaign. (Photo: China Aid)
China Aid Association

(Taizhou, Zhejiang—April 10, 2014) Privately established Christian gathering sites are listed as the top priority in the “Three Rectifications and One Demolish” campaign constructed by the provincial government in China’s coastal Zhejiang, according to a notice published by the Shamen Town People’s Government in Taizhou in December 2013.

China Aid discovered, translated and edited the document, which was located on the Shamen Town government’s website.

The discovery of this document comes after more than a month's worth of reports of forced demolitions, so-called recitifcations and threats against protestant churches in Zhejiang (see http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/03/three-self-churches-in-zhejiang-anhui.html, http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/03/update-zhejiang-churches-face.html, http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/04/zhejiang-tspm-church-faces-forced.html, and http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/04/exclusive-china-aid-receives-internal.html).

The document can be read below:

Shamen Town Committee of the Chinese Communist Party
Shamen Town People’s Government



Notice regarding “Implementation Plans for Rectification of Illegal Structures at Sites for Religious and Folk Faiths Activities in Shamen Town”


All villages:

“Implementation Plans for the Rectification of Illegal Structures at Sites for Religious and Folk Faiths Activities in Shamen Town” has been approved by the town’s Party committee and the township government. Please implement it in a serious manner according to your local actual conditions.

Shamen Town Committee of the Chinese Communist Party
Shamen Town People’s Government
December 11, 2013


CC: Department of United Front Work of the County Party Committee, County Bureau for Ethnic and Religious Affairs

Comprehensive Office for Party and Government Affairs of Shamen Town.
Printed and distributed on December 13, 2013.
(A total of 60 copies have been printed.)

Illegal structures at sites for religious and folk faith activities in Shamen town
Implementation plan for exclusive rectification work

In order to carry out the deployment requirements from our superiors and further deepen the “Three Rectifications and One Demolition” campaign, it is now decided to unfold the exclusive rectification work on illegal structures throughout the town at the sites for religious activities and folk faiths activities. The following plan is therefore formulated.

1. Important significance
Unfolding the management work on religious affairs and affairs relating to folk faiths and attaching a great importance to doing a good job in the rectification of illegal structures at sites for religious activities and folk faiths activities in the “Three Rectifications and One Demolition” campaign are the actual actions in deeply carrying out the spirit of the notice from the Central Executive Committee and the State Council on resolutely curbing the willful construction of temples, monasteries and outdoor religious statues. These tasks are also the actual action in deeply implementing the State Council’s “Regulations on Religious Affairs,” “Regulations on Religious Affairs of Zhejiang Province,” and other religious codes and regulations. They are also a major chance for us to reasonably arrange sites for religious activities and to integrate and standardize sites for folk faiths activities. All the villages should be fully aware of the importance and urgency of doing a good job in this respect. They should constantly enhance their political awareness, awareness of the overall situation and awareness of their responsibilities and take initiative. They should take effective measures and make an all-out effort to carry out the campaign.

2. Goals of our work
Demolish illegal structures at sites for religious activities and folk faiths activities through the exclusive rectifications; standardize the management of sites for religious activities and activities for folk faiths. You should resolutely curb the phenomenon of building temples and monasteries at will and without proper paperwork, improve the social image of religions, guide religions onto the path of healthy growth, make an effort to create a clean and honest religious atmosphere, and actively build harmonious religions.

3. Basic principles
Religious faiths and folk faiths have many characteristics. Among those characteristics are that they exist on a long-term basis; they involve a great number of masses, they are very complicated, etc. You should persist in the following principles while unfolding the rectification work on illegal structures at sites for religious activities and activities of folk faiths:

(1) Stick to the principle of respecting faiths. Religions and folk faiths are a spiritual pursuit of the great masses of people and they have many functions such as a strong psychological adjustment, moral bindings, terminal care, etc. In organizing the coordination for the concentrated rectification efforts, you should both guarantee the progress of the “Three Rectifications and One Demolition” and consider the religious needs of the great number of believers.

(2) Stick to the principle of management under one’s jurisdiction. The “Three Rectifications and One Demolition” campaign involves the demolition of illegal structures at sites for religious and folk faiths activities. Each village should take full responsibilities of the management under its jurisdiction under the leadership of the township’s leading group for the “Three Rectifications and One Demolition.” In principle, each village should retain only one site for religious worship or for worship of the folk faiths.

(3) Stick to the principle of management according to the law. Illegal structures at the sites for religious activities and activities of folk faiths are not an issue of religious faiths or folk faiths: you should not mix faiths with illegal structures, and you should not solve non-religious issues as if they were religious issues. As for structures that violate the law and regulations on land use and general planning, you should solve the problem according to what should be done about the problem in the book, make sure your work is legal and follow the established legal procedures.

4. Working tasks and procedures of implementation
(1) Phase for investigation and assessment (early December). All villages should take rapid actions in establishing a leading group for the exclusive rectification efforts, enact a working plan, and organize people for the investigation and assessment with key emphasis on the illegal sites for religious activities within your jurisdiction, especially the Christian sites privately established without proper paperwork or approval. You should also assess the violation of the law and building codes at registered sites for religious activities; assess the number, category and history of sites for folk faiths; assess the lighting at night of religious sites, and the violation of regulations in outdoor religious structures.

(2) Phase for forced demolition (mid-December through end of December). Illegal structures at sites for religious activities and sites for folk faiths must be demolished and the regulation of “Seven types of structures that must be demolished” must be followed. These seven types of structures that must be demolished are: 1) Christian gathering sites that are privately established without approval and are unregistered and other illegal sites for religious activities; 2) illegal structures that are not approved built at legally registered sites for activities and the portion of structures that exceeds the approved area should be demolished; 3) small temples and small nunneries that violate the law and regulations and that occupy farmland must be demolished; 4) small temples and small nunneries that affect public safety and major construction projects must be demolished; 5) small temples and small nunneries that seriously affect the village planning or construction of beautiful villages must be demolished; 6) small temples and small nunneries on both sides of main lines of transportation must be demolished; 7) small temples and small nunneries that accumulate wealth in the name of religion and other sites for illegal activities must be demolished. For the time being, reviews and approval on expansion and remodeling of temples, churches and other fixed sites are frozen and reviews and approval on large non-normal religious activities are strictly controlled. We advocate the idea of conservation and require that lighting on sites for religious activities and religious landmarks are turned off during normal times.

(3) Phase for all-around push (Jan. 2014 through Dec. 2014). Continue to push work in the demolitions of illegal structures at sites for religious activities and activities for folk faiths and to standardize management. In the spirit of the document, “Opinions Regarding the Enhancement of Management at Sites for Activities of Folk Faiths,” issued by Yuhuan County Committee of Chinese Communist Party and Yuhuan County People’s Government (Yu Xian Wei [2012] No. 30), you should readjust the arrangement of sites for the activities of folk faiths, divide them into categories and groups, integrate them, concentrate all types of religious idols so that they can “work together in one office,” alter some of them, and turn some small temples and small nunneries into senior activity centers, village culture auditoriums, etc. Make a concentrated effort to solve the problem that the facade of some religious buildings does not comply with relevant regulations and make rectifications on the external image of religious structures or religious landscape that are built privately, that are not approved, or that violate the limits set in the approval statement. Do a real good job in the exclusive rectification in the Buddhist and Taoist fields, with the emphasis on the “rectification of disorderliness,” “rectification of fakeness,” “rectification of overheated building,” and solve the phenomenon in which religious sites are “leased,” “contracted,” or “incorporated in a shareholding system.”

5. Working requirements
(1) Strengthen leadership and coordinate actions. Unfolding the exclusive rectification of illegal structures at sites for religious activities and activities of folk faiths is an important work in the “Three Rectifications and One Demolition” campaign. All villages should perform the duties belonging to their jurisdiction and do good organizational work in the investigation of illegal structures at sites for religious activities and activities for folk faiths.

(2) Get a clear idea of the emphasis of your work and push forward resolutely. In the comprehensive arrangement and pushing forward of the exclusive rectification work on illegal structures at sites for religious activities and folk faiths activities, focus on key points first and then on ordinary aspects of the issue. As the key of your rectification effort, take those illegal sites that have seriously violated building codes, seriously affect the urban and rural planning, and those illegal structures that the common people complain about a lot. They should be demolished by all-out efforts, and you should push the demolition of the structures that violate the building codes to a climax throughout the town. At the same time, when you concentrate your efforts on the rectification of key areas and key sites, you should push the rectification steadily and resolutely curb the phenomenon of overheating, over-abuse, and over-disorderliness in religious field.

(3) Pay particular attention to tactics and ways of doing things. The exclusive rectification work of demolishing illegal structures at sites for religious activities and folk faiths activities involves a large number of people. In their approaches, all villages should adopt the universal principles for social management and relevant laws and regulations. They should grasp the limits of the policies and proceed with rectification work according to the laws and regulations. They should attach great importance to and bring into play the role of patriotic religious organizations, representatives from religious circles, and key members from all ranks of society. They should do a good and detailed job in convincing people of the reasonableness of the rectification work and pay particular attention to the methods of work to prevent social instability.

Appendix: Name list of Shamen township leading working group for the exclusive rectification of illegal structures at sites for religious activities and folk faiths activities
Appendix:
Group leaders: Shu Huan, Chen Rongshi

Deputy group leaders: Huang Gensheng, Zeng Ziwen, Luo Junqian, Chen Zhebao, Chen Jiang, Chen Xiangfeng, Geng Lingjiang, Yan Tongfu, Wang Wanlin, Wang Ping, Chen Xiqian, Han Congbin, Chen Wenjun, Huang Xueying, Feng Renwen, Xie Yangping, Lin Suhua, Yan Hejing, Gao Yelin, Lu Liwei

Members: Huang Bin, Su Hang, Wu Genyi, Zhang Suhua, Xiao Min, Yan Xuelin, Hong Hao, Huang Huijun, Chen Zhangde, Wang Wenjun, Hu Meiqing, Li Lingjuan.


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