Zhejiang authorities demolish cross on third attempt, threaten factory owners with demolition

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wuxi Church prior to the demolition of the
cross. (Photo: China Aid)
China Aid Association
(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—Aug. 12, 2014) Authorities in the Longwan District of Wenzhou, in the Chinese coastal Zhejiang province, successfully demolished the cross topping Wuxi Church after two failed attempts in late July. Police are also threatening church members who own factories with the demolition of their buildings should they continue to attend gatherings and speak to reporters.

“The cross of Wuxi Church has already been demolished,” a staff member at a nearby church told China Aid. The man said that the cross wasn’t permanently affixed to the top of the church and was, therefore, easy for the government to dismantle when they came to the church on July 29.

“[The government] is many, we are few,” one man said. “The church in not big; it has 100-200 people.”

Despite the small number of congregants, worshippers had successfully prevented the demolition of the cross twice before, their slogan being “Defend the Cross at Any Cost,” which they wrote on a banner that they hung across the front of the church.

“At four o’clock [in the] afternoon, a total of 70-80 people consisting of the law enforcement team and security team came to Wuxi Church to attempt to demolish the cross for the third time,” a church member said. “[The team] put their own cross that they had brought… and hung it on the wall. Then, 50-60 people stayed behind and guarded the church in two shifts—one shift for the day and one for the night—just to prevent the [church members] from setting up the cross on top of the church again. They were fully armed with shields and police batons.”

In addition to the persecution against the Church, authorities have also threatened the Christian factory owners with the demolition of their businesses. Police have also spoken to non-Christian factory owners, threatening them with negative consequences in an attempt to get the factory owners to pressure the church into giving in to the government.

“Quite a few church members received forced demolition notices for their factories,” one believer said. “Some businessmen who don’t believe in Jesus said that if the government exerts pressure on them, coerces them, wants them to talk the church into accepting the demolition of the cross, and if their factory buildings are demolished, they would come directly to demolish the cross.”

“[The government] said their factories pollute the environment and the environment protection bureau came to talk with them,” the man said. “The bosses of the factories that are said to be polluting the environment came to Wuxi Church to try to persuade them. The authorities said if they could talk the people in the church into agreeing to let the authorities take the cross, the authorities would not check the pollution problems at their factories.”

Believers have reported hearing that the government would demolish the churches of Christians who came to support the demolition resistance at Wuxi Church, as well as hearing that seven more crosses are scheduled to be demolished.

Worshippers also told China Aid that authorities are doing their best to keep reporters out of the area. “A French reporter came to Pingyang [County] to interview the church people in this area,” a local said. “By accident, the authorities got wind of it, and then the government came to prevent the reporters from interviewing the churches.

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