CCP to demolish Yining Xinjiang’s Sacred Heart of Jesus Church—for failure to align with "sinicization"



Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Yining Xinjiang’s Sacred Heart Church of Jesus prior to and during demolition. 
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)

(Yining (aka Ghulja), Xinjiang Province—Feb. 23, 2021) Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities ordered Yining Catholics to stop attending Yining Xinjiang’s Sacred Heart of Jesus Church on February 19 for failure to align with the party's "sinicization" policy. Under the leadership of Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, sinicization involves reconciling the doctrines of all officially recognized religions with the CCP’s core values of socialism and assimilating religions into Chinese traditional culture.

As local Xining authorities began demolishing Yining Xinjiang’s Sacred Heart Church, one Asia News' source surmised, “Perhaps, from next week, this Catholic church on the western border of China will disappear into dust."

Local authorities failed to disclose the reason for the demolition. Some Believers presume that as the church's geographic location lies within a commercial area, the city’s urban planning officials will develop the property in the future.

The Yining municipal government initially chose the site for Yining Xinjiang’s Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in 1993, agreeing to the construction of a Catholic church on the road that led to Yining Airport, away from residential communities. With approval from the religious bureau for the church, however, officials stipulated that they did not want church to be "too obvious." In 2002, Yining and Yili District when government officials attended the church's inauguration ceremony, they commended the building.

In 2018, Xinjiang's authorities deemed that the exterior decorations of the church did not align with "sinicization." Consequently, because of its perceived “showiness, authorities removed the church's cross, bell tower, icons, domes, and religious symbols, including two statues of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Local authorities failed to disclose the reason for the demolition. Some Believers presume that as the church's geographic location lies within a commercial area, the city’s urban planning officials will develop the property in the future.


In 2018, Xinjiang's authorities deemed that the exterior decorations of the church did not align with "sinicization." Consequently, because of its perceived “showiness, authorities removed the church's cross, bell tower, icons, domes, and religious symbols, including two statues of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Approximately 2,000 Catholics live in the area of Yining's Sacred Heart Church of Jesus, situated 700 kilometers west of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. The first Catholics in Yining trace back to those exiled to Xinjiang because of their beliefs during the Qing Dynasty when the government banned religion. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Catholics joined the wave of immigrants moving to Yili from the mainland.

Since the start of Xi Jinping's reign in 2013, Chen Quanguo, party secretary in Xinjiang, initiated a hardline policy towards Catholics, Muslims and other religious groups. In recent years, under the guise of "sinicization,” in addition to demolishing churches, CCP authorities have damaged or demolished an estimated 16,000 mosques.

Asia News reports that authorities have demolished four other churches in Xinjiang in the name of the land's commercialization. These include churches in Hami, of Kuitun, and two churches of Tacheng. Although these places of worship possessed pertinent permits and had obtained government approval for their buildings, officials did not compensate them for their losses after demolition.

Contrary to CCP claims, no conflict of interest exists between commercialization and church. China's massive demolition of mosques, Christian churches, and religious symbols like crosses outside of commercial areas in various provinces other than Xinjiang, reveals that the demolition of religious buildings for "commercial" reasons serves as an excuse for religious persecution.


(Gao Zhensai, ChinaAid Special Correspondent)


###


And do not be conformed to this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, 
that you may prove what is that good 
and acceptable and perfect will of God.

                                                                                                          ~ Romans 12:2 (NKJV)



China Aid exposes abuses in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law. If you wish to partner with us in helping those persecuted by the Chinese government, please click the button below to make a charitable donation.



ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: +1 (432) 553-1080 | Office: +1 (432) 689-6985 | Other: +1 (888) 889-7757
Email: media@chinaaid.org
For more information, click here