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ICC NOTE: Update: It was reported earlier this week that 18 crosses have been demolished since the start of 2016 in China. Early Wednesday morning, Chinese authorities completed the demolition of crosses at three separate churches in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province. Xiuyang Church, Waipu Church, and Qingkeng Church have been the most recent victims of the demolition campaign titled “Three Rectifications and One Demolition,” which began in 2014. These three churches were among the 18 crosses demolished previously reported. China maintains the belief that Christianity is a major threat to the Communist Party’s control over the nation. 

2/3/2016 Zhejiang, China (China Aid) – Authorities demolished the crosses on three different churches in China’s coastal Zhejiang province early Wednesday morning.

The three churches, Xiuyang Church, Waipu Church and Qingkeng Church, are all located in Wenzhou, which has been the center of a massive cross demolition campaign titled “Three Rectifications and One Demolition,” which began in early 2014. With these most recent demolitions, the totals rise to 18 crosses demolished in the past two weeks alone and approximately 1,700 demolished since the campaign began.

Members of Waipu Church and Qingkeng Church reported that nearly 100 government employees broke into their churches around 11 p.m. on Jan. 26 and removed the church crosses using electric drills and various other tools.

“This was a secret destruction, like thieves would do. They did not give any reason, because all of the removals are secretive. No one saw them,” an anonymous church member said.

The demolition at Waipu Church reportedly lasted until 4 a.m. on the morning of Jan. 27. Unlike previous demolitions, the officials did not use cranes to remove the crosses, and the tools used instead destroyed the church’s door and damaged the bell tower. Authorities also confiscated Waipu Church’s surveillance and video equipment.

“These demolition personnel came suddenly, and many believers did not know [what was happening]. The last time, at East Gate Church in Pingyang County, they also came suddenly at 11:25 to demolish. Now, we all know that the storm of demolition will come again, but we do not know from which direction this violent attack will come,” a Wenzhou Christian surnamed Wu told China Aid’s reporter.

A fourth cross demolition reportedly took place on the evening of Jan. 27 at a church located on Chipu Road in Wenzhou, though details of this event currently cannot be confirmed.

China Aid reports on events such as the widespread waves of cross demolitions in Wenzhou in order to expose religious freedom abuses and promote rule of law in China.

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