Pictures are emerging on Twitter of bulldozers tearing down a Chinese mega church following weeks of protests and demonstrations by members of the congregation.
Christianity Today notes that reports as to why Sanjiang Church in Wenzhou, China, was demolished are conflicting. While congregants accuse the government of launching an attack on Christian places of worship, others indicate the building was illegally erected. Last week, Brent Fuller, president of China Source, a Hong Kong-Based nonprofit that collaborates with China-oriented churches, said that the congregation had built the church far larger than they had permission to build.
Initial negotiations led to an agreement that the church would remove two levels of the annex, but The Telegraph reports that the entire building has been “reduced to rubble.”
According to Christianity Today, the right to freedom of religious belief is guaranteed under Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution, that protection is limited to those who worship within state-sanctioned religious bodies. Those who choose to practice their faith outside of these, or whose beliefs are not officially recognized by the Government, are at risk of being accused of participating in illegal activities, which carries heavy punishment.
Publication Date: April 29, 2014.