One church has been demolished by officials using cranes and heavy-duty machinery as Christians in China continue to be persecuted.
ChinaAid, a non-profit Christian organization for the human rights of Chinese citizens, reported that 200 communist officials stormed into Sunzhuang Church in Henan province on June 12.
The officials responsible for the demolition were from the Zhengzhou High-Tech District Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau, despite not showing legal documents.
The report by ChinaAid went on to note that the officials threw out chairs and additional church property.
Some church members did not fare well upon apprehension by officials. One woman was hospitalized after being knocked unconscious by officials who pushed her to the ground. Similarly, another woman was also taken to the hospital after officials beat her.
One male church member had also been arrested. The church was then demolished following the raid, the report asserts.
Sunzhuang Church had been a part of China’s branch of government-run churches since the early 1990s. The Christian Post reported that the church had also joined the Three-Self Patriotic Movement in June 2012, as they were permitted by the communist government to construct a brand new church building.
Then in June 2013, Sunzhuang Church was issued a demolition notice by the Sunzhuang Village Committee because congregants failed to comply with the designated church construction protocol.
But the church gave evidence to the committee that they had the government’s approval beforehand.
Nevertheless, officials went to cut off the church’s water and electricity while throwing rocks and dirt at the church’s doorway. But the Christians successfully stood their ground in preventing a complete demolition.
China is currently ranked 23 on Open Doors' World Watch List as one of the countries where Christians face the worst persecution.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, crosses from more than 250 churches were forcibly removed by the Chinese communist government.
The 2020 annual report by the USCIRF noted that youth ages 18 and under were banned by authorities from partaking in religious services.
Additionally, the South China Morning Post reported that as a part of a poverty relief program, local officials asked Christians to remove images of Jesus Christ and replace them with portraits of President Xi Jinping. The initiative's end goal is to “transform believers in religion into believers in the party.”
Regional manager for the International Christian Concern in Southeast Asia, Gina Goh, noted that the Chinese government had restarted its ongoing crackdown on Christianity after the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline.
“In recent weeks, we have seen an increased number of church demolitions and cross removals on state-sanctioned churches across China, as house church gatherings continue to face interruption and harassment,” Goh said.
“It is deplorable that the local authorities not only conducted this raid without proper procedure but deployed excessive use of force against church members and bystanders,” she added.
Photo courtesy: Chuttersnap/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.