Zhejiang demolitions: Authorities demolish cross using special crane to bypass human shield

Friday, August 1, 2014

This image shows the cross being
lifted of Huaien Hall's church
building on July 28, 2014. (Photo
from believers)
China Aid Association

(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—Aug. 1, 2014) Authorities in Wenzhou, in China’s coastal Zhejiang, demolished the cross topping a house church by using special equipment to bypass the large crowd of believers blocking the church’s gate early Monday morning.

“At 3 a.m., [authorities] started traffic control,” said a member of the Huaien Hall church, located in Cangnan County, Wenzhou. “At 4 a.m., their digging equipment and cranes all came in.”

“At 6:30 a.m. this morning, the cross was demolished by them through force,” a local missionary said on Monday. “A lot of buses came. I would say about 15-16 [buses]. Altogether, there were 200-300 people… They had ambulances and fire engines.”

“The crane they brought in was very tall. They didn’t enter the church,” the missionary said. “I would say [the crane was] about 100 meters tall. In comparison, our church in only 70 meters tall. They lifted the cross with the crane from outside the church, and we [had] shut the iron gate from inside the church because we thought they would enter the church through the gate.”

“The worshippers began to wait at the church [Sunday night] and they guarded the church until the morning. There were more than 200 people,” a Christian said.

Huaien Hall’s missionary said the church never received a written demolition notice. “It was only an oral notice. They said the church is an illegal structure, and they specifically notified us that they would demolish the cross.”

“We know that many crosses are not illegal structures,” said Gao Baosheng, a former Chinese house church pastor now residing in America and a contributor to China Aid’s Chinese Law and Religion Monitor.

“The statistics show more than 160 crosses and churches have been demolished. However, the actual number is [likely] three to four times this number.

“One of the characteristic of the governments’ actions in recent days is they exclusively demolished crosses. The second characteristic is that the suppression of the government-sanctioned TSPM churches is similar to that of the pre-Cultural Revolution period,” Gao said. “However, immediately before the breakout of the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong said that the church had come to the end of its history.

“After Xi Jinping came to power, he wanted to restore the Cultural Revolution and the policies from the Cultural Revolution, including the religion policies. The demolition of government-run churches indicates that they are not continuing the religious polices from the Hu Jintao or Jiang Zemin eras when the United Front Work was the primary concern.

“Resistance is coming from various types of people, including seniors inside the government-run churches and worshippers who are ordinary people. Some people have even written wills [preparing for the worst], and some protest at the scene of the demolitions.

“I anticipate that the resistance will continue, and there may be many bloody conflicts. These acts of resistance will cause the increase of cost in demolishing churches or crosses. When the cost increases to a certain level, I estimate that [the government] will consider retreating,” Gao said.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Tel: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
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