In the latest effort to curb the rapid expansion Christianity in China, police officers removed crosses from two churches in the coastal province of Zhejiang.
According to The New York Times, officials arrived Monday at Longgang Township Gratitude Church with a crane and blowtorch to remove the ten-foot red cross.
Members of the Salvation Army Christian Church also clashed with officers on Monday who attempted to remove the church's cross.
On Friday, parishioners of Wenling Church in the city of Taizhou unsuccessfully held off some 4,000 police officers that removed two crosses.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) claims these recent incidents are part of a government effort to either demolish church buildings or remove religious symbols. The estimates for the number of churches wholly or partly demolished range from 130 to over 200.
“We are deeply concerned at the use of violence against the members of Salvation Church, who were attempting to peacefully protect their church’s cross from being removed,” CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said. “This spate of demotions and the removal of Christian symbols have left Christians across the province feeling humiliated and victimized. In cases where churches and other buildings are found to be in violation of regulations, we urge the provincial authorities to conduct proper investigations in accordance with the law, without the use of violence and intimidation tactics. We further call on the Chinese authorities to provide ￼compensation to those injured on July 21, and to hold to account those responsible for the incident.”
Publication date: July 29, 2014