A month ago today, officials forcibly demolished Shuangmiao Christian Church in China. Authorities claim the reasons for demolition were the church was an “illegal structure” and the church’s refusal to pay 4,000 yuan ($588 USD). Along with destroying the church, officials beat dozens of church members and arrested 40 Christians. Furthermore, the government searched and damaged the belongings of Christians and stole their personal property.
06/05/2017 China (The Christian Times) – Chinese authorities in China’s central Henan province have reportedly demolished a church that was under construction and arrested more than 40 of its members.
On the morning of May 5, 300 local police officers and city inspectors forcibly demolished Shuangmiao Christian Church and arrested around 40 Christians. According to China Aid, the demolition order was issued on the church after it was labeled as an “illegal structure.”
The church demolition has been compared by its members to the Japanese invasion of China during World War II. The officials reportedly beat dozens of church members, pushing them to the ground and twisting their hands.
Eight out of the 40 arrested Christians still remain in custody, while the cases of Shuangmiao Christian Church pastor Zhang Di and the church’s vice director, Lü Yuexia, were transferred to the procuratorate, which will decide whether or not to formalize their arrest.
The Communist Party reportedly dispatched personnel to search the belongings of the Christians and construction workers. The officials allegedly damaged the closets, smashed the offering boxes, confiscated personal property, and stole laptops, money, and jewelry during the raid.
The government also claimed that the demolition was the result of the church’s refusal to pay 4,000 yuan ($588 USD) annually as part of an arbitrary road usage fee imposed by villagers.
Prior to the demolition, the church attempted to negotiate with the officials to resolve the issue. However, the negotiations culminated in the arrest of Zhang, who was accused of assaulting the police station, limiting the freedom of others, and attacking a village representative.