Believers Stand United
May 21, 2015
This week, the Christian international human rights organization China Aid reported that officials in the Fuyang District of Hangzhou, the provincial capital of Zhejiang, and the city of Lishui has ordered all Christian churches in the area to remove the crosses from the tops of their buildings. This is the latest episode in the government’s efforts to curb religious expression.
|Another Chinese church is stripped of its cross as a Communist
Party ‘anti-church’ demolition campaign continues in Zhejiang
Province. Photo: www.telegraph.co.uk
Authorities have already toppled crosses from some 400 churches, which have been determined to be “in violation of building codes.” In some instances, this has resulted in confrontations with local Christian congregations. The codes in question are extremely restrictive—crosses must be attached to the front of the building, not the top of it; they must have unobtrusive colors that blend in with the building, and they can be no more than one tenth of the building’s height. This time, church leaders decided to avoid confrontation and resist peacefully. A city-wide prayer vigil is planned.
“This major church-state conflict is caused purely by the Zhejiang Communist Party leadership with the consent and encouragement of the central government,” said China Aid founder and President Bob Fu. “Chinese government leaders should be held accountable if this order escalates to a violent clash. The only viable solution is to respect the Chinese citizens’ true religious freedom as enshrined in the Chinese constitution and in universal norms to which the Chinese government has openly committed.”
Why It Matters
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom calls Chinese religious freedom violations “severe” and “systematic.” Christians may not be murdered as they are in the Middle East, but many languish in prison due to their beliefs, and faced with hardships on a daily basis.
– Follow China Aid on Facebook or Twitter for China-specific updates.
– Write to Chinese authorities and demand for the release of religious prisoners.
– Pray for the persecuted in China and across the world.