Catholics in Hebei Block Demolition Attempt
05/17/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – Chinese Catholics in Hebei province have stationed themselves at a shrine to prevent the government from dismantling holy statues.
According to UCA News, when they heard that authorities were planning to demolish statues at Shengdiliang Shrine in Xiwanzi Diocese on May 13, they started to station overnight at the site to protect them.
The shrine features statues of Jesus the Good Shepherd, Lazarist Bishop Joseph-Martial Mouly (the first bishop of Xiwanzi) and Lazarist Father Mathew Shi (the first parish pastor of Xiwanzi Church).
As of May 15, about 20 Catholics were still guarding the hillside shrine, with local authorities keeping watch of them.
Mary, a local Catholic, told UCA News that the statues were installed by a parish priest more than 10 years ago and people do a pilgrimage to the shrine every Lent for prayers.
With the largest Catholic population in China at about 1.5 million, she believes that Catholics in Hebei face more persecution. “I believe they may demolish the shrine bit by bit,” she said.
Handan diocese in the same province, received a notice saying that churches, crosses or name signs of churches without permits must be demolished. The 24 churches in the diocese are believed to be on a list for demolition.
China’s crackdown against Christianity has not decreased, even after the Holy See signed a provisional agreement on bishop appointment with Beijing last September.
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