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09/23/2020 China (International Christian Concern) – The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) promised churches affiliated with the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CPCA) that if they follow certain provisions, they could peacefully practice their worship and religious activities. However, these promises are not kept.

Five months ago, officials removed the Virgin Mary and cross from a Catholic church. The officials stated that this was because the cross was “taller than the village committee building.” Bitter Winter  reported that on June 2, authorities destroyed Roman-style pillars and religious symbols, including the stations of the cross. Four days later, a different CPCA village church in rural Shandong Province had a similar experience. Its cross and other religious symbols were removed. The entrance showcasing the church’s name was also covered.

In Hebei Province, one church deacon explained, “registered churches are sometimes harassed more than the unregistered ones. They also have their crosses removed.”

The United Front Work Department (UFWD) is divided by nine bureaus and includes the Ethnic and Religious Work Bureau. The UFWD removed crosses and Catholic symbols from a church which has been state-approved for 83 years.

CCP authorities repeatedly break the promise of leaving registered churches alone. The Hebei deacon said, “The government is even more confident in controlling registered churches. Had we known this beforehand, we would not have joined the CPCA.”

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]