Shocking Video Shows Dozens of Chinese Christians’ Desperate Attempts to Halt Destruction of Church Cross

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Shocking Video Shows Dozens of Chinese Christians’ Desperate Attempts to Halt Destruction of Church Cross

After 3 ½ -hour Standoff, Church Members Begin 24-hour Vigil Through the Night

06/11/2014 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern)– Early this morning, International Christian Concern (ICC) obtained a video of Christians in Wenzhou City, China, attempting to stop the forcible demolition of a church cross. At 5:00 a.m., June 11, 2014, hundreds of government personnel equipped with a crane and other construction machines, without any legal documents or advanced warning, forcibly broke into BaiXiang GuanTou Church attempting to remove the cross from the building’s roof. Church members responded by mounting a standoff for three-and-a-half hours. Local sources report that, though the government demolition team retreated temporarily, they are not done with the church yet. Around 80 believers are gathering in the church through the night to keep watch and protect the cross.

This is the first time the government retreated after a standoff,” a local pastor told ICC. “The government broke into the church without showing any legal documents or notice, just like robber. They stopped Christians from entering the church for the morning service at 8:00 a.m.

During the standoff, several Christians managed to break through the police barricades. Some subsequently ran into the church building and climbed to the top of the roof to stop construction workers from demolishing the cross. In the meantime, other church members turned off the electricity generator for the crane. More and more believers joined in and were singing a Chinese hymn: “Cross, cross, my glory forever; all my sins have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.”  They also chanted: “Stop demolishing the cross, stop demolishing the cross.

The standoff became more violent as evidenced in the video obtained by ICC.  Approximately one minute fifteen seconds into the video, a policeman came out from behind their shields and began to beat church members with a baton. Despite the violence, church members didn’t withdraw and more and more people gathered at the church. Around 8:30 a.m., the removal team left temporarily after the standoff; however, local believers told ICC that the government may come back again to demolish the church. “All we can do now is to keep watching at night and keep praying.

The BaiXiang GuanTou Church belongs to the Youngjia County parish where the 4,000- seat Sanjiang Christian Church, forcibly demolished on April 28, drew international attention. Established in 2006 and registered with the local government, BaiXiang GuanTou Church’s main building was approved by the provincial government and the cross has been erected on the top of the building for eight years, according to a local believer.

Despite facing the months-long forcible cross demolition campaign in Wenzhou City, local Christians have not lost heart. “Believers are firm and courageous because they know that the cross does not go against construction law and they are not against any law. The government is abusing its power and bullying people in the attempt to demolish the cross,” a local contact of ICC said.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, Sooyoung Kim, said: “Today we received clear evidence that local and provincial authorities in Zhejiang Province continue to wage an all-out war against Christians and Christian places of worship. More than 100 churches have been demolished or targeted in the past two months. We call on President Xi Jinping directly to step in and put an immediate end to what is a clear violation of China’s constitutional commitment to religious freedom.”

Watch the video later today from ICC’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/persecuted?fref=nf

For interviews, please contact Sooyoung Kim, Regional Manager for Southeast Asia rm-seasia@persecution.org

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