|Zhejiang authorities tear down Shizhu
(Photo: China Aid)
Written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated and written in English by Brynne Lawrence
(Taizhou, Zhejiang—Dec. 1, 2015) Authorities in China’s coastal Zhejiang demolished the cross atop Shizhu Church on the morning of Nov. 30, following a command last year that urged the church members to demolish their own cross.
In response to this incident, Chen, a member of the Taizhou church, said she didn’t understand why the local authorities wanted to demolish the cross: “The officials said that they do not want the cross to be very high [on the building]; it would be ok if it was lowered a bit. Why do they want to tear it down? There is no need to tear it down … Tearing the cross down is [the government’s] wrongdoing.”
Chen’s statement references a new statute released by local authorities in July, saying crosses should be placed on the sides of churches, and that the size must not exceed 1/10 of the wall’s size. Despite these stipulations, the local government announced plans to demolish all church crosses by the fall of this year.
“The people who demolished [the cross] are definitely not believers in Jesus,” Chen said. “If they believed in Jesus, they couldn’t do this sort of thing.”
When a China Aid reporter reached out to several government officials to inquire about the demolition of Shizhu Church’s cross, they either denied knowledge of the event or refuted the possibility of their department’s complicity in it.
More than 1,500 church crosses have been removed or destroyed in Zhejiang province since the beginning of 2014, when the provincial government launched the “Three Rectifications and One Demolition” campaign.
China Aid seeks to expose abuses of the right to freedom of religion, such as the demolition of Shizhu Church’s cross.