ICC Note: As predicted in recent ICC news posts, Christians are losing patience with the ridiculous government campaign to tear down crosses and entire churches in Zhejiang Province. Local pastors are now being arrested simply for expressing their disagreement with the government.
By Hai Nan and Yang Fan
07/29/2015 China (Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang are pressing ahead with a demolition campaign targeting “illegal” Christian crosses amid growing resistance from local believers.
Government-backed demolition gangs have taken down crosses from the tops of churches in provincial capital Wenzhou, Taizhou, Huzhou and Jinhua cities in recent days, in a slew of demolitions billed in state media as a building safety campaign.
A total of 16 believers and pastors were taken away by police following scuffles with a cross demolition gang last week, and eight have yet to be released, a lawyer for the church members told RFA on Wednesday.
“They were detained because they refused to allow the cross to be taken down, and so they arrested them,” lawyer Pang Kun said, adding that only seven of the detainees were known to be under criminal detention, while the status of the eighth had yet to be confirmed.
“They are all being held on suspicion of ‘running an illegal business,’ ‘obstructing official duty,’ and ‘running secret accounting procedures,’ random stuff like that,” Pang said.
“This is about the fact that they were opposed to the removal of the cross from their church, and this is a form of revenge against them,” he said. “They want to send any church that doesn’t comply into disarray.”
“This is an unreasonable act of revenge, which seriously violates the rights of these believers to freedom of religious belief,” Pang added. “It is also against the law.”