Last week, crowds of Christians formed a human shield to protect the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou from threatened demolition, but Communist authorities in China say that they are not actively campaigning to destroy churches.
However, 12 churches in the Zhejiang province have been ordered by the Communist party to be destroyed. Others have been forced to remove their crosses or turn off the lights at night to be “less conspicuous,” reports The Telegraph.
Feng Zhili, chairman of ethnic and religious affairs in Zhejiang said that Christian growth in the region was “too excessive and too haphazard,” hinting the government’s disapproval of the growing number of practicing Christians.
Zhejiang pastors are urging the government to stop the “demolition campaign” and “gross interference” in religion.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said last year that the nation was “losing its moral compass” and should revert back to the customary religions of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. This would “help fill a void that has allowed corruption to flourish.”
There are currently over 1 million Chinese Protestants in Wenzhou; the city’s population is 9 million.