Government-sanctioned church successfully impedes cross removal

Monday, June 16, 2014

Baixiang Church
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid Association
Updated at 12:56 p.m., CDT, June 16, 2014
(Corrected on June 16, 2014)

(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—June 16, 2014) Authorities in Wenzhou, in China’s coastal Zhejiang province, continued the provincial demolition campaign, known as “Three Rectifications and One Demolition,” on Tuesday with the cross removal at the government-sanctioned Guantou Church, bringing to number of affected churches up to 85.

Despite believers’ attempts to block paramilitary police from gaining access to the building, located in the county-level Yueqing City, and banners saying “Don’t Remove Our Cross” and “Protect Religious Freedom” hung atop the building, authorities tried to forcibly remove the cross and uses violent means against Christians who impeded their progress. An officer knocked one man unconscious for trying to protect the church.

Baixiang Church members attempt
to protect the cross. (Photo: China
In the end, the paramilitary units gave up without successfully destroying the cross thanks to efforts from the church members, including cutting off power to the generator used of authorities to remove the cross.

“Despite the international outcry, the continuing brutal destruction of churches and the crosses on them shows once again the total disregard for religious freedom by the Chinese government,” said Bob Fu, China Aid founder and president. “Those who order the use of violence against the innocent believers who simply want to protect their house of worship from being arbitrarily destroyed should be held accountable by both Chinese law and the international community. We call upon the Chinese top leader to immediately halt these barbaric actions against the Christina churches.”

In addition to Guantou Church, Shamen Christian Church’s cross was removed the same day and Zhangli Church in Qili, Lucheng District, Wenzhou, received verbal notification from authorities that they are required to remove the church's cross. Also, the cross topping a Catholic church in Wenzhou was removed on June 9. Another church, north of the river in Yonjia County, Wenzhou, also received a demolition notice last week while a house church in Wenzhou has been banned from gathering for worship.

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