|Bulldozers deployed on Aug. 29 destroyed
outlying buildings at Wangcun Catholic
Church (Photo: ChinaAid)
(Changzhi, Shanxi—Sept. 1, 2017) A group of more than 100 members of local government organizations in China’s inland Shanxi province descended upon a catholic church, destroying several buildings on the property, injuring several church members.
On Aug. 29, a large group of officers attacked Wangcun Catholic Church, knocking down auxiliary buildings connected to the church, drawing waves of protesters from the church. The government deployed bulldozers to knock buildings down and physical altercations broke out between the demolition crews and protesters, injuring at least 10 church members.
Wangcun Catholic Church, founded over a century ago, has often clashed with authorities regarding the property rights of the church. In 1949, the church was confiscated by the government and turned into a factory, which then went bankrupt in 2005. In August 2012, the church regained possession of the property after the government determined that the foundation and the old factory belonged to the church.
In the past few weeks, however, the government delivered documents rescinding that decision and have attempted to confiscate the courtyard and outer buildings back, which the church does not agree with. On the day of the scheduled demolition, Wangcun Church members and Christians from several other area churches came to support the church against the demolition crews.
On the evening after the confrontation, a pastor of the church spoke with the Changzhi city government to halt the demolition and open negotiations regarding the church property.
There are more than a half million Catholic believers across approximately 60 churches in Changzhi. Wangcun Catholic Church has about 400 members.
ChinaAid reports on persecution cases such as the demolition of buildings at Wangcun Catholic Church and the attacks on protesters in order to expose religious freedom abuses against Christians in China and promote human rights and rule of law.