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ICC Note: This article summarizes the Chinese government’s incessant campaign of persecution of Christians in China through the demolition of churches and dismantling of church crosses.

By Carey Lodge

08/24/2015 China (Christian Today)

Over the past two years, countless stories of church demolitions and cross removals have come out of China. Estimates vary, but the total figure of churches affected is believed to be somewhere between 1,500 and 1,700 – a move that campaigners have branded unprecedented, or at least not seen since the harrowing days of the Cultural Revolution.

The demolition campaign began in Zhejiang province, on the east coast of China, in late 2013. The provincial government had launched a three-year ‘Three Rectifications and One Demolition’ campaign in March of that year, supposedly with the aim of exposing and removing “illegal structures” in the region. However, as the campaign got under way, it became apparent that religious buildings, specifically churches, were the real target.

Running in parallel to this, an increasingly negative government rhetoric regarding Christianity emerged. The ruling Communist party (CPC) was evidently becoming progressively more suspicious of the influence of Christianity in China, where the faith is experiencing monumental growth. Reports suggest that up to 10,000 people are becoming Christians every day and while there were just one million believers when the CPC came to power in 1949, there are now thought to be as many as 100 million. By 2030, one expert has estimated that China will be home to more Christians than any other country in the world.

‘Hostile foreign influence’

Various Chinese officials have expressed concern at the velocity of this growth. On July 1, 2013, the Secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the CPC, Xia Baolong, warned against the influence of the underground Church in China. In October of that year, he ordered a church to remove its cross, insisting that its height – and therefore visibility – was “not appropriate”, marking the beginning of the cross campaign.…

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