Statues and icons destroyed inside North Gate Church in Ji'an after 100 uniformed officers launch morning raid
On Nov. 22 police drove away priests of Ji'an and some 70 Catholic demonstrators protesting for justice after some people broke into a church. (photo supplied)
A gang of city management officers broke into church property in Jiangxi diocese, southeast China, and beat elderly Catholics who needed to be hospitalized, according to a church source.
On the morning of Nov. 21, the North Gate Church in the city of Ji'an in Jiangxi Province was raided without warning by more than 100 officers in uniform. The officers, known as Chengguan, belong to city management bureaus. They have less power than police, but are known across China for their thuggish enforcement of by-laws relating to street vendors, hawkers and illegal taxi operators.
The officers destroyed holy statues and icons, as well as striking and binding four Catholics, said to be in their 80s, who guarded the church.
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A source who wanted to remain anonymous told ucanews.com that Bishop John Baptist Li Suguang of Jiangxi asked priests to spread news of the raid to the public.
The next day, priests and about 70 Catholic faithful carried banners to Ji’an City government offices and asked that those responsible for the violence be punished.
Ji'an North Gate Church — as well as an ancillary building, rectory, convert, hospital and farmland — was originally donated by a rich French Catholic widow.
Although confiscated by the Communist Party in 1949, all the property was meant to be returned to the church according to law.
The local government only returned the North Gate Church to the diocese and officials have occupied other parts of the property.
The church source said that the city government of Ji’an now wants to stop the situation getting any worse and has offered to negotiate further.
City officials also promised to investigate the raid and penalize those involved in any wrongdoing as well as to pay compensation and apologize to those injured.
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