Anhui church, government disagree over church reconstruction

Church demolitions in China are
often justified using a variety of
reasons. (Photo: China Aid)

China Aid
Reported and written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Brynne Lawrence. Edited in English by Ava Collins.

(Lu’an, Anhui—Oct. 26, 2015) A government-sanctioned church in China’s coastal Anhui province took issue when authorities replaced the church’s previously demolished building with a building half the size of the original.

According to the church’s pastor, surnamed Chen, church members raised 100,000 Yuan (U.S. $15,700) during the later months of 2014 and completed construction for a meeting place on Dec. 25, 2014. In early April 2015, the three-month old structure was demolished by Lu’an authorities, who stated that the church lacked the necessary approval despite being built on privately owned land.

“Afterwards, [the government] said they would help us build another church,” Chen said. “Now there is a new one for us.” However, the newly built church, at 100 square meters, is only half the size of the previous 200-square-meter building.

The church is currently a part of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the government-approved Protestant church of China. In recent years, the church has progressively departed from sanctioned methods, functioning more like a house church. Chen believes this may be part of the reason the building was targeted for demolition. “We are a Three-Self Church, but because we became more like a house church, [the officials] are angry.”

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