Date: January 10, 2018
(Xi’an, Shaanxi—Jan. 10, 2018) Local authorities in China’s central Shaanxi province demolished a Catholic church on Dec. 27, catapulting the Christians who met there into negotiations with officials.
At 4 p.m. on Dec. 27, the local ethnic and religious affairs bureau and the Xiangyi District Public Security Bureau joined forces and dispatched dozens of officials and heavy machinery to a local Catholic church. Smashing crosses and confiscating statues, the Eucharistic altar, and other religious artifacts such as the vestments and seating, they demolished the building.
In response, more than 100 church members gathered in front of the district government offices, holding banners that read “Safeguard the right to religious freedom” and chanting “Freedom of religion,” “Love your country, love your religion,” and “Return the church to us.” Since then, the church has been negotiating with the government’s religious management personnel.
A week before the demolition, the authorities sealed off the church and did not allow any Christians to enter it. Outside, they posted a statement saying the building was an “illegal construction” and would be torn down.
A similar incident occurred yesterday, when Golden Lampstand Church was unexpectedly bombed and destroyed by Chinese military police, which are directly under the control of the central government, meaning the order to demolish the church came from China's highest officials. Such destruction is prompting Christians to fear that the government may embark on a demolition campaign as a newly-revised set of religious affairs regulations goes into effect nationwide in February.
ChinaAid exposes abuses such as those experienced by the members of the Catholic church in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.
ChinaAid Media Team
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