CHINESE OFFICIALS DEMOLISH CROSSES
More than 100 security guards removed two church crosses in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, on July 7. According to Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, local believers now fear Zhejiang could see a second large-scale cross demolition movement, similar to the one that destroyed more than 1700 crosses in 2014-2015.
At 5:04 a.m. on July 7, more than 100 government personnel arrived at Aodi Christian Church and Yinchang Christian Church. Representative Foley says that according to church members, the personnel came with cranes, broke the church locks, and entered the churches. They also destroyed church property.
Representative Foley says that church members at the scene tried to stop the officials, but several security guards beat them, resulting in several injuries. Representative Foley reports that a Christian man in his eighties was shoved to the ground.
“Church members say that when they tried to call the police, no one answered the phone,” says Representative Foley.
Crosses at both churches were removed. According to Representative Foley, some Christians prayed and sang hymns outside while the demolition went on. One church member said, “When a large number of security guards came to demolish the cross, many people were still sleeping at home, and many old people went forward trying to stop them dismantling the cross, but they were pushed away. Naturally these old people did not have the strength to push these strong young people, so they could only let them tear down the cross.”
Representative Foley says that local government officials contacted by the church members claimed they had no knowledge of the incidents.
Photo: Officials gather to demolish crosses at two churches in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province.
Photo: The crosses of two churches were forcibly removed in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province.
“At the beginning of 2014, there was a movement to forcibly demolish the cross in Zhejiang Province,” says Representative Foley. “In the name of ‘three demolitions and one reform’, ‘cleaning up illegal buildings’, and ‘the Sinicization of Christianity in China’, the authorities forcibly demolished the cross on the top of Christian churches in Zhejiang Province. Many believers spontaneously guarded their churches and were beaten by security guards and urban management personnel.” According to Representative Foley, as of July 2015, more than 1700 Christian churches and crosses had been demolished in Zhejiang Province, and some Catholic churches were also demolished.
Individuals interested in learning more about Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s work in partnership with the house church Christians of China can visit https://vomkorea.com/china/.