June 17, 2009
JIANGSU, CHINA (ANS) -- Chengnan Christian Church, a registered Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) church in Tinghu district, Yancheng municipality of Jiangsu province in China, continues to experience persecution by Yancheng municipal government authorities.
According to ChinaAid, since 2006, government officials, together with real estate developers, have sought to force the church from their church building and confiscate their property in order to build commercial housing units to sell for large profits.
ChinaAid says: "In December 2008, officials demolished the church's office, training center and cafeteria. However, the church refuses to give into the government demands, and maintains their legal right to the property.
"During the month of May, many of the church members' tricycles and electric bicycles were stolen while they were gathered inside the church. The Christians donated cement and sand to construct a wall around the church to stop the harassment, but government officials disrupted and prevented their efforts to build. On May 3 and on May 7, the government sent two different groups of people to the church to intentionally harass the believers."
ChinaAid says that despite the harassment, the church continues to meet. In an open letter to Christians around the world, they wrote:
"What we cannot understand and what surprises us is that, after we registered the church, we hoped to get the protection and support of the government. What we failed to predict is that the church has not only failed to get the protection and the support, the registration has become a bondage and a burden and we are all the more suppressed and persecuted," the believers wrote.
"The way of doing things by Yancheng Municipal Government has seriously threatened the normal spiritual life and the personal safety of the believers, and it has seriously violated the Chinese law and regulations. The forcible demolition of religious sites is against the law. ... is 'the policy of protecting religion, religious belief and freedom' nothing but an empty sentence with which they only try to deceive themselves?"
Ina media release, ChinaAid says it "believes this to be a serious case of religious persecution exposing the government's illegal actions against a Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) church, despite the fact that the church is registered and approved by the government.
"Forcible demolition of legally registered churches has become more common in recent years as government officials and real estate developers seek huge financial profits at the expense of religious freedom."
Copyright 2009 ASSIST News Service