CHINA’S communist government has exploited the coronavirus quarantine conditions to further their campaign against Christianity by destroying crosses and demolishing a church whilst was in lockdown.
On March 13, a church in Guoyang County, Anhui Province saw its cross removed by authorities. A video shared on twitter documented the moment when the crane removed the red cross from the church’s rooftop. Outside of the church’s gate, there are more than a dozen of traffic police officers keeping watch on the operation.
Based on a China Aid report, Sanhe Church is a Three-Self church recognized by the government.
A local Christian said the church is also a tourist attraction since it has more than 100 years of history.
They said: “The government requested the person in charge of the church to remove the cross.
“Yet since the church refused to do so, the cross was forcibly removed”.
Sanhe Church was built in 1914 by an American missionary.
In the past few months, the Chinese government has intensified its crackdown against the Three-Self churches in Anhui province.
Another church in Huaishang district of the city of Bengbu, Anhui province also had its cross removed at the beginning of March.
According to International Christian Concern, a local Christian said the removal was led by the head of the local United Front Department.
The United Front Department is China’s surveillance agency that is set the task of keeping the population in line with the ideology of the Communist Party.
Charity China Aid has also highlighted in Shandong province a statement by authorities ordered all online preaching be ceased and churches that gather in secret be rooted out.
hey also reported local communist officials feel obligated to “guide” Christians “in other ways, with the caveat of not gathering together!”
Researchers say the current drive, fuelled by government unease over the growing number of Christians and their potential links to the west, is aimed not so much at destroying Christianity but bringing it to heel.
Lian Xi, a professor at Duke University in North Carolina, who focuses on Christianity in modern China told the Guardian: “The government has orchestrated a campaign to sinicise Christianity, to turn Christianity into a fully domesticated religion that would do the bidding of the party”.
Over the past year, local governments have shut hundreds of unofficial congregations or “house churches” that operate outside the government-approved church network.
A statement signed by 500 house church leaders in November said authorities have removed crosses from buildings, forced churches to hang the Chinese flag and sing patriotic songs, and barred minors from attending.
Churchgoers say the situation will get worse as the campaign reaches more of the country.
Another church in Chengdu was placed under investigation last week.
Last year police raided a children’s Sunday school at a church in Guangzhou.
Chinese officials have also banned the 1,500-member Zion church in Beijing after its pastor refused to install CCTV.
Article by Express