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02/05/2021 China (International Christian Concern) – More than 100 Chinese security guards descended on the century-old Shuixin Church in Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province to forcibly remove the cross at midnight on February 1. This is the second time the church had its cross demolished. On June 30, 2014, the local authorities also removed its cross.

Church members alleged that their rejection of local government officials’ request to remove the cross atop prompted the authorities to take action forcibly.

According to China Aid, around 11:30 pm on January 31, , Zhou Qingquan (Deputy Secretary of Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Yaoxi subdistrict, Longwan district) and Hu Xiandong (Commissioner of Unit Front Work Department, Yaoxi subdistrict, Longwan district) led approximately 100 security guards to raid the church. They soon took control of the gatekeeper.

After they shut off electricity, several security guards held one church worker in a headlock and confiscated his cell phone. They warned him not to fight back as they were enforcing orders from higher officials. One security guard threatened to beat a pastor, but another officer stopped him.

The task force managed to remove the cross on the rooftop at 1:35 am on February 1. A video shared by the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness shows the moment the cross was removed by a crane.

Mr. Lin, a local Christian said, In 2014, the government paid a number of security guards to remove crosses from churches. While the men forcibly removed our church’s cross, they held brothers and sisters in custody. Four years later, we re-erected our cross, but now CCP officials have removed it again.

On January 26, the Zhejiang Province lianghui (the body composed of the Three-Self Committee and the China Christian Council that oversees church activity) issued a notice to temporarily ban all religious activities in the entire province in the name of epidemic prevention and control. Mr. Lin asserts: “The real purpose of the notice is not to control the spread of COVID-19, but to use it as an excuse to deprive people of their religious activities.”

For interviews please contact Alison Garcia: [email protected].