Updated: June 30, 2020 10:17 AM GMT
Pictures of churches in China's Anhui province before and after their crosses were removed. Reports say hundreds of churches have had their crosses removed in the past three months. (Photo: bitterwinter.org)
Communist authorities are continuing their spree of removing crosses in China's Anhui province as Catholic and Protestant leaders remain helpless to resist the attack on religious freedom.Since mid-April, officials have removed or destroyed more than 500 crosses from Christian churches and public places in Anhui in a campaign that some Christians believe is a move to wipe out the Christian symbol from the public gaze.Paul Lee, a Protestant preacher in Anhui’s Suizhou city, said all church crosses in the city have been removed except for one at a century-old heritage church. “Without this church, the cross sign would not have been able to survive in this town,” Lee said.Lee said most crosses have been removed in a 500-kilometer stretch from Zhejiang to Anhui.Neither the state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association nor the bishops’ conference are resisting cross removals. “The clergy in Anhui don't want to cause trouble. They are afraid of the government,” Lee said.Reverend Lam, a house church pastor, said house churches have been suppressed by authorities and have no fixed place of worship.“The Chinese Communist Party is bullying the Church because it is too weak,” he said.The cross demolition did not affect Pastor Lam but it would be difficult to find a place of worship in the future, he said.A church in a tourist area of Anhui has been negotiating with authorities to save its cross for more than a fortnight.