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11/01/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – The parishioners and priests of the diocese of Handan (Hebei province) have occupied the church of Wu Gao Zhang (Guan Tao district) to stop its demolition decreed by the government since this morning. Though the priests tried to negotiate with the authorities, it was useless, Asia News reports.

While Wu Gao Zhang’s church is officially recognized, the government’s decision to destroy it is allegedly motivated by the fact that it does not have all the necessary permits, after the implementation of revised religious regulations last year.

Beijing has been targeting official and unofficial church buildings without all the permits in order, leaving no room for a pardon solution. But even if the churches have permit and are state-sanctioned, they could still be subject to demolition, as President Xi Jinping tightens his grip on religion.

The Sino-Vatican secret deal signed in September 2018 does nothing to protect these churches. According to several local Catholics, the agreement actually grants more power to the government authorities, which claim that “the Vatican supports us” and keeps silence on these episodes. According to parishioners of the diocese of Handang, the government has decreed the destruction of 40 other churches.

Thanks to the revised regulations and the registration requirement for priests and bishops in supporting an “independent” Church, many churches in Jiangxi and Fujian are closed and priests who refuse to sign the registration are driven out.

In recent weeks, the churches of Jian and Fizhou have been closed in the Diocese of Yujiang (Jiangxi); in the Diocese of Fuzhou (Fujian), sacred buildings were also closed in Fuqin and Changle.

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