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Christian persecution in China may be slowing down, says monitoring group

ICC Note:

A timeline shows that the worst of persecution in China, as far as the demolishing of churches and tearing down of crosses, was at its height in the spring and summer of 2014. This indicates that persecution of this form could be slowing down. However, it could also mean that all the churches and crosses in this area have been removed.

2/16/2015 China (EN)-An international Christian organization has expressed hope that the Chinese government’s campaign against churches and crosses appears to be slowing down.

Building a comprehensive timeline that documented the cases of church demolitions in Zhejiang province, Christian Solidarity Worldwide said it noticed a pattern which fueled suspicions that the campaign intended to curb the growing faith.

“Although the Chinese government claims that the church demolitions have nothing to do with religion, the scope of the demolitions indicated by the timeline tells a different story,” said CSW chief executive Mervyn Thomas in a statement on Feb. 11

At least 400 crosses from churches in Zhejiang province have been removed, while 35 churches were either totally or partially destroyed, according to the timeline.

The bulk of the incidents against Christian places of worship peaked between April and July 2014. In February last year, Communist Party leaders warned Zhejiang officials of the increasing rise of Christians in parts of the province, like Wenzhou, known as China’s “Jerusalem.”

During the three-month period, State authorities destroyed more than 230 churches in the guise of enforcing building code provisions. The number includes churches whose crosses were removed and buildings partially damaged.

Some 100 people were arrested, detained, or issued summonses in the course of the persecution, according to CSW, while 35 people were hurt trying to protect the churches from the police.

Authorities maintained the government-initiated campaign targeted structures that were built contrary to the provisions of the country’s building code.

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