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Registered Church in Jiangsu Province Demolished, Christians Beaten

ICC Note:

Chinese government officials led a mob of nearly a thousand people, including police officers, to demolish a registered church in China’s Jiangsu Province. The church was demolished less than 24 hours after they won a court case that should have protected them from their attackers. At least ten Christians were beaten when they tried to protect the church.


12/22/08 China (ChristianNewswire) The morning of December 17, 2008, police officers, together with nearly a thousand unidentified people, led by government officials from Yancheng city, Jiangsu province and real estate developers, forcibly demolished the Chengnan Christian Church of Tinghu District. The destruction of this registered church came less than 24 hours after the church won a court case protecting their building against the same individuals who attacked it. The mob took away property belonging to the church and beat more than 10 Christians. Contacts report that the destruction was the result of government officials and powerful businessmen working in collusion to obtain the coveted church property by force.

On March 11, 2005, the church members began Sunday worship and various church activities in the church building. Pastor Ding Jianling said: “The grace of the Lord is overflowing, and the investment of five million yuan on the church all comes from the loving donations from brothers and sisters over the past 10 years or so and is the fruit of hard work. Now, the temple of God is built.”

However, beginning in 2006, sources say that real estate developers began to covet the land on which the church was built.

Because of the pressure to sell the building and property, the church said it was willing to hold negotiations on equal footing to solve the problems. However, real estate developers and the relevant agencies in the government offered to pay only 2,860,000 yuan to settle the matter. They also refused to provide the land to replace the demolished church.

At 9 a.m. on January 16, 2008 government officials and real estate developers called in more than 500 people to lay siege to the church and tried to demolish the building. Since the church had already petitioned, filed a case and reported the incident to the relevant agencies for urgent resolution, and because members of the church came out to protect the building, the church temporarily avoided demolition.

On May 29, 2008 real estate developers and officials once again, attempted to demolish the church, and once again, they failed.

One day in August, a real estate developer desiring to provoke the congregation, beat up one church member so badly that the victim had to be hospitalized. The developer was required to pay for the medical expenses.

Finally, in order to protect themselves from harassment from Yacheng government officials and the real estate developers, the church filed a lawsuit in Tinghu District Court. At 6 p.m. on December 16, 2008, Tinghu District Court ruled in favor of Chengnan Christian Church. After the ruling, the members of the church thought the government agencies and the real estate developers would abide by the law and would leave the church in peace.

However, the following day, December 17, between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., more than 50 Christians were in gathered for prayer in the church, when a large number of police officers and unidentified people suddenly broke in. Without showing identification or giving any explanation, the police officers and attackers dragged the Christians outside the church, while hundreds of government officials, police officers, security guards and a large number of unidentified people gathered outside the church.

Wielding tools, the crowd began to demolish the gate of the church, the office and other structures. Some of the mob loaded debris into trucks and hauled it away. When approximately 10 members of the church tried to stop the attackers, they were beaten.

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