Qushan County officials forcibly remove crosses from Christian fishermen's boats



Saturday, July 31, 2021

Qushan County CCP contractors removing a cross from a fishing boat.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource/video screenshot)

(Qushan County, Zhejiang Province—July 31, 2021) On July 28, without presenting any legal documents, Qushan County officials forcibly removed crosses from several fishing boats. They also erased “Emmanuel” slogans painted on boats and threatened fishermen that if they refused to let them remove their cross, they would not grant them fishing permits. Officials also warned that if they did not allow them to remove crosses, they would not permit them to purchase gasoline and drive their boats. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities only targeted Christians, however, not individuals professing other beliefs.


Attaching crosses on their fishing boats, a fisherman’s personal property, reportedly equates to  part of fishermen’s Constitution-granted religious freedom.  Qushan County CCP officials, nevertheless completely ignored the Constitution and forcibly infringed several fishermen’s religious freedom. With no way to appeal the CCP’s actions, fishermen must ask for help online. Some assert:


The government is completely unreasonable. Fishing boats are our personal property. We have the right to put crosses on our boats. Religious freedom is written in the Constitution. However, it is just empty talk. The government never enforces the Constitution.

 

 As the closed fishing season will end soon (after August 1), fishermen prepare to set out fishing. Qushan County government representatives, however, force Christian fishermen to remove crosses from their boats or they will not allow them to fish. When Christian fishermen asked county officials to show legal documents for their actions, they could not provide any. Instead, authorities sent people to forcibly remove crosses from Christian fishing boats.


One Christian fisherman protested:
 
Our boats are our personal property. The county government is destroying personal property when they forcibly remove crosses, isn’t it? Why do they only remove crosses, but not signs and slogans from other religions? Why do crosses bother them? If they don’t like a cross, why can’t they simply regard it as logo of “The Red Cross?”

   

Qushan County CCP contractors erasing an “Emmanuel” slogan from a fishing boat.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource/video screenshot)

The population of Qushan, an island with approximately one third Christians, totals 70,000. This number, however, only reflects Believers registered with Three-self churches. As many unregistered house churches operate here, the actual percentage of Christian population (more than 50%) make this area primarily a Christian Island. Even though some residents do not profess to be believers, most have heard about “having eternal life in Jesus” from their family members and friends.

Christian sign at a Qushan resident’s home.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)

People in Qushan first heard the gospel more than 100 years ago. According to the “Qushan County biography,” a British boat foundered on a reef near Qushan in 1863. After Qushan fishermen saved 24 crew members, the British Consulate sent the fisherman a large plaque saying: “Shine Jesus Shine” o thank them. They also sent them the Holy Bible and missionaries. At that time in this area, Buddhism served as the main religion. Since 1863, however, Christianity started to take root and grow.

In time, putting crosses on fishermen’s boats become Qushan Christian fishermen’s tradition, creating a unique, serene scene when rows of crosses cruise in the ocean. Fishermen also spray/paint “Emmanuel”(means “God be with us”) on their boats,

Christianity comprises a vital, essential part of Qushan residents’ life and tradition. Every year, Qushan residents spend one to two months to prepare Christmas celebrations. They sing hymns at weddings and funerals. Many families hang “Emmanuel” slogans on their front doors. Fishermen hoist crosses and attach them to their fishing boats.

A row of crosses on Qushan’s fishing boats.
(Photo: ChinaAid resourc)


As fishing in the ocean may be extremely dangerous at times, the sign of the cross brings fishermen peace and hope when they encounter danger, especially when, due to poor phone service, they cannot contact anyone outside their boat for help. Their Christian faith/belief helps them through difficult times.

CCP officials have angered Christian fishermen, however, by telling them they must remove crosses for safety considerations. One Christian fisherman said: “We are upset because of the forcible cross removal, an unacceptable government action. Authorities ban us from fishing if we do not agree to remove crosses from our boats. We are not ok with the CCP’s evil actions.


~ Yubing, ChinaAid Special Correspondent



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For many walk, 
of whom I have told you often, 
and now tell you even weeping,
 that they are 
the enemies of the cross of Christ
                                                                           ~ Philippians 3:18 (NKJV)

 


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