A large-scale demolition of churches and crosses in Zhejiang Province has been launched. The action spread from Wenzhou to other areas. More than 300 churches have been demolished. On August 3, priest Huang Yizi in Pingyang County, Wenzhou was detained, accused of “gathering crowds to attack state organs.
The Zhejiang Church incident increasingly intensifies.
For months, several churches were consistently demolished in Pingyang county. One church’s cross was taken down on July 12. On the early morning of July 21, 600 police went to the church to forcibly demolish it. They clashed with Christians. More than ten Christians were injured, five were badly injured being sent to hospital.
On August 3, priest Huang Yizi, who sent message online to show support for the Christians, was detained.
Christian Wu Quanquan said that on July 24, families of injured Christians went to the local government, to request an explanation. The government responded that it was priest Huang who encouraged people to be there.
Wu Quanquan: “Many were injured, their families members went to protest. Then the government claimed that Huang ‘gathered crowds attacking the government’. It was the families members wanted to go, Huang joined them afterwards.
But the government said it was Huang who led them.”
Yang Xingquan, Beijing lawyer who was familiar with Huang Yizi said that Huang had been summoned several times before the incident.
Yang Xingquan: “I think the local regime still fear such action and expression. They are still timid. Because a church’s cross is neither illegal nor harms any of the society. To demolish a church cross is obviously to persecute Christians.”
On July 25, the biggest church cross in Taizhou City, Zhejiang was taken down. The Christians protected the cross day and night but still couldn’t stop it happening. The regime went to the church several times within three days,
over 100 people were detained.
Zhuang Daohe, lawyer in Zhejiang Province says that the church was built by the regime, now it was the regime that demolished it. He couldn’t understand what the regime really wants to do.
Zhuang Daohe: “The church project was approved by the regime. The local regime has taken the building as their achievement and a landmark. Because the church looks very beautiful and eye catching. Now it’s suddenly demolished, I don’t understand.”
Beijing Christian Liu Fenggang who was concerned with the Zhejiang church incident said that Wenzhou region carried out a survey. The provincial secretary, Xia Baolong looked over the region from the highway, saying that there were too many crosses, dashed eyes and was very uncomfortable, thus he wanted to remove them.
Liu Fenggang: “At first, they demolished Three-Self Patriotic churches. Now they also demolish house churches. The regime told media that as long as it was an illegal building, they would demolish it It has nothing to do with religion.
However, there is a confidential document of demolition specially for religious sites.
On July 28, an 1872-built heritage church in Ningbo City was burnt, the reason for the fire was unclear. On that day, two Christians tied themselves to a huge cross on top of the church, vowing to protect the cross, even giving away their lives.
On July 30, the church cross in Longwan district in Wenzhou was removed. Then the cross was put on the wall outside the church.
Yang Xingquan analyzed that the intention of removing the churches and crosses is to stop Christian development. He observed that the arrest of priest Huang Yizi indicated the Zhejiang church incident has intensified.
Yang Xingquan: “Zhejiang Province is the place where many Chinese Christians live. There are many churches in those areas. In the past, the regime aimed to demolish churches and crosses, now they start arresting people particularly priests. It obviously aims at people with different opinions, to limit their freedom. The next move could be sentencing or arresting.”
Sources say that Wenzhou is the place that has the most churches in China. So it was called “China’s Jerusalem”. Now over 130 churches are demolished in Wenzhou. Even the churches that have fully approved documents, didn’t have any luck. More than 300 churches in total were destroyed or almost destroyed this year.