Christian Daily: China's Cross Removal Campaign Spreads to New Regions, Sources Say

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Christian Daily
John Coleman 08 July, 2015 1:45 PM

The Chinese government has continued their campaign to remove crosses from churches, and it has now spread from the Wenzhou region to other dioceses in Zhejiang province, according to a new report.

According to independent news source UCA News, five Catholic churches in Zhejiang province, Songmun, Xinhe, Muyu and Dasi of Taizhou diocese as well as the Xiaoshan Sacred Heart of Jesus Church of Hangzhou diocese, had their crosses removed on July 2.

A local source in the Taizhou region told the UCA News that authorities were told to "Sinicize" the churches.

"When we asked the officials what means by 'Sinicize' the churches, they said they did not know either but they have to remove the crosses anyway," the source explained.
China's government has taken down more than 200 crosses
in churches since January. (Photo: Reuters)

"It is obviously an action directed against Christianity," he added.

Many churches, specifically in the Wenzhou province, have been stripped of their crosses that are on display, and some buildings are being demolished.

This is a result of the Chinese government-sanctioned "Three Rectifications and One Demolition" campaign, which has been targeting both house churches and government-registered Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) churches as it tries to eradicate "illegal structures."

"In reality, the campaign indiscriminately removed and demolished crosses on church buildings and, in many cases, demolished the entire church building, regardless of whether the building had been previously approved by the Chinese government," Christian watchdog group China Aid previously stated.

China Aid has closely followed the trend of persecution within the country and labeled 2014 the "Year of Persecution and Endurance" after releasing their Annual Report of Religious and Human Rights Persecution in China. The report showed a 152.74 percent rise of persecution among Christians.

Wenzhou is in the southeastern Zhejiang province of China and is known for its strong Christian population, often referred to as "China's Jerusalem."

China's churches are only legal if they comply with strict government laws, including not having visible crosses. State officials removed more than 200 crosses in 2014.

"Although, there is an escalation of persecution in China, religious communities are increasingly utilizing the rule of law to defend their rights in administrative proceedings and exposing ongoing abuse and the denial of religious freedom and related human rights via social media," China Aid noted.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985