East Asia

Over 100 China Christians protest church demolition

Photo shows the Catholic church (left) in Shaanxi province before it was demolished in Zhifang village and the land (right) where the church once stood. Photo credit: WeChat, UCAnews.com

Almost 100 Christians protested the demolition of a church in China, shouting: “Give back my church” and “Freedom of belief.”

The authorities in a village in Lauyu district, Shaanxi province, northwest China, demolished a church on 27 December 2017.

They also destroyed a cross, removed religious items, and forbade people from going near the demolished church. The authority’s pretext was a 20 December notice claiming that the church was illegally occupying the land.

However, Christians fought back, using social media to post photos of the demolition and attached official documents proving that authorities had indeed given the church permission to use the land.

A local church leader stated that the authorities have sent officials to apologise and discuss compensation. The church has set up a special team to negotiate with the government to resolve the incident.

A local source states that monetary compensation alone is undesirable, and that the Christian community would require land provided to rebuild the church.

In similar fashion, local authorities in other provinces like Zhejiang have carried out a campaign of church demolitions.