Another Chinese church has its cross taken down
Parishioners warded off one attempt but not the second
Pictures: The Telegraph
- Tom Phillips for The Telegraph
- June 19, 2014
Nearly a week after Chinese Christians thwarted government attempts to remove the cross from their place of worship as part of an ongoing “anti-church” campaign, authorities returned to destroy the religious symbol.
Last Wednesday, members of the Guantou church in Wenzhou, a city known as China’s Jerusalem,successfully forced demolition teams to abandon a predawn attempt to remove its cross.
However, demolition workers returned in the early hours of Tuesday morning to complete their task, which activists and academics believe is part of a renewed Communist Party crackdown on faith that began in the eastern province of Zhejiang earlier this year.
“The cross was secretly taken down between 3am and 6am,” said Zheng Legou, a local church leader.
Officials had vowed to tear down the entire church – as they did with the nearby mega-church of Sanjiang in April – if congregants attempted to halt the removal for a second time, Mr Zheng claimed.
“The worshippers were threatened that if they resisted, their church would be demolished just like Sanjiang,” he said.
Photographs sent to The Telegraph show a crane winching a large red cross from one Guantou’s three domes.
One image shows a visibly damaged cross lying on its side, discarded in a corner of the church’s grounds.
Statistics compiled by Christian activists show cross removals and church demolitions have continued apace in recent weeks.
Wenzhou’s Zhangli church, another huge construction that had been due to open to worshippers next year, had the red cross removed from its spire on Sunday, The Telegraph understands.
At least 15 churches have received notices from authorities in the last week informing them that if they do not “voluntarily” remove their crosses by the end of this month they will face demolition, China Aid, a Christian advocacy group said on Monday.
Around 360 church buildings and crosses have been demolished already this year, according to the group.
Source: The Telegraph