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10/11/2018 China (International Christian Concern) – Although the Vatican recently signed a provisional agreement on bishop appointment with China, hoping to improve the situation for the Chinese Catholics, Chinese authorities continue to persecute churches across China.

On Oct 11, the cross that stood on the bell tower of Lingkun Catholic church in Wenzhou city, Zhejiang was torn down, the perimeter wall in front of the sacred building was also demolished.

This church is led by bishop Peter Shao Zhumin as part of the Yongqiang parish, in the diocese of Wenzhou. It is recognized by the Holy See, but not by the government. Bishop Shao was previously detained by the local authorities for seven months and only released last April seemingly due to international pressure.

Wenzhou was targeted in an aggressive cross removal campaign back in 2014 where it saw thousands of crosses toppled and churches demolished. This was the first time a cross is removed after four years. Some are concerned that another wave of removal might be upon them as Beijing tightens grip on religion.

Lingkun’s cross is however not the first to be removed after the Sino-Vatican agreement was inked. On 3 October, a team from the United Front work which manages religion tore down the cross of Zhumadian church in Henan, given “it was too visible” and one can spot it even from the nearby high-speed train station.

While the Holy See is hopeful that with the signed agreement the rights of Chinese Catholics can be better protected, so far nothing substantial has been done and the government continues to clamp down on Christianity.

For interviews with Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]