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Church Destroyed In Fujian , Another to Follow Shortly

ICC Note:

Police coldly demolish Catholic churches for “security reasons.”

AsiaNews (09/04/06) – Police of Pingtan ( Fujian ) have destroyed a church in Yutouchang village and have sworn to demolish another in a neighbouring village.

Around 500 policemen and local officials appeared at 8am (local time) on 1 September to destroy a church of the unofficial community of Fujian . The church stood in Yutouchang village on the islet of Pingtang off Fuzhou ( Fujian ). For some time, the island, not far from the Chinese coast, has hosted at least 10,000 unofficial Catholics.

AsiaNews sources in China revealed that the police arrived with bulldozers to destroy the building – illegal according to Chinese law – and they beat some believers who sought to stop the demolition. Two people were injured. The church was completed in July 2006: covering an area of 1000 square metres, it cost 400,000 yuan (40,000 euros).

The police also warned that in the coming days they will destroy another church that is under construction in Ao Qian village. In recent years, Ao Qian’s community of 400 believers, mostly fishermen, contributed tithes to raise more than 500,000 yuan to build the church. The building covers an area of 250 square metres and has more than one floor. The AsiaNews sources said: “Our people sacrificed themselves, even saving on food, to be able to build this church. But now the government ignores the blood and sweat of these poor people and is destroying everything. All this is completely ridiculous and we feel pained and indignant!”

The police justify these demolitions by citing “security reasons”. China allows the practice of religion only in places of worship registered by the Religious Affairs Department and considers practice in illegal places of worship to be a threat to security.

In Fujian, there is a strong unofficial community that refuses to be registered for fear that it would have to submit to controls by the Patriotic Association, which aims to create a national church detached from the Holy See.