ICC NOTE: 49 crosses have been removed in Zhejiang province since the beginning of 2016 as the Chinese government continues to eliminate the power of Christianity. Churches which have fought against the removals have had their water and electricity cut off forcing them to have services elsewhere as the buildings are deemed unusable. Christians stand in defiance in front of buildings attempting to stop the advance of demolition crews. Government notices and orders are plastered on the doors of churches with church leaders being taken into custody, some never to be heard from. The life of the Chinese Christian is a dangerous one and one which also presents the power of Christ through their actions against the decree of the Politburo.
3/9/2016 Zhejiang, China (China Aid) – The amount of church crosses demolished in China’s coastal Zhejiang since the beginning of 2016 rose to 49 on March 3 as authorities across the province continue a cross removal campaign.
Earlier this year, churches in the province received official notices that threatened to forcibly demolish the churches’ crosses if they refused to voluntarily dismantle them.
After Zhongchang Church, located in Wenzhou, rejected this order, officials cut off the church’s access to water and electricity on Feb. 23. Currently, the church is incapable of holding religious services due to government interference.
On Feb. 25, Hai’an Church in Wenzhou received a similar notice that demanded they “rectify” their church building by dissembling their cross by Feb. 29. After refusing to do so, the local government dispatched around 100 officers, and the cross was demolished on March 4.
Additionally, the Wenzhou Municipal Ministry of Land and Resources ordered Guozhuang Church members to destroy their cross, claiming they built their church building without prior government approval. According to the notice, the church was asked to personally demolish their cross and return the so-called illegally occupied land officials within three days of Feb. 23. Since they refused to do so, their cross was demolished on Feb. 26.
On March 1, when authorities arrived at Luxi Church to demolish its cross, a group of Christians confronted them, blocking their entrance as they sang Christian songs and prayed. According to a local official, some of the protesters became quite emotional, and the demolition crew was forced to cancel the demolition for fear of being responsible for an accident.
Despite similar resistance efforts occurring throughout the province, news has spread through Zhejiang that all church crosses will be demolished by April.
In addition to these churches mentioned above, Wenzhou authorities have demolished the following churches’ crosses since Jan. 26, 2016: Tangxia Christian Church, Zhuangyuan Catholic Church, Bajia Catholic Church, Xiuyang Church, Waipu Church, Qingkeng Church, Xixi Church, Sabbath Church, Dongtian Christian Church, Luoxi Church, Meiyuan Church, Lingjiao Church and Nanyangshan Church.
China Aid exposes religious freedom abuses, such as those experienced by churches in Zhejiang, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.