■ A pastor’s wife was killed after being buried while protesting the destruction of a church in China, according to a human rights organisation.
China Aid said that Ding Cuimei suffocated to death when she and her husband, church leader Li Jiangong, stepped in front of a bulldozer in an attempt to stop the demolition on April 14.
The bulldozer reportedly pushed the two into a pit, where they were covered in soil. Li was able to escape, but Ding was killed.
The incident took place at Beitou Church in Zhumadian, in China’s central Henan province.
Founder and president of China Aid, Bob Fu, denounced Ding’s death as a “serious violation of the rights to life, religious freedom and rule of law”.
|The Communist Party is believed to be becoming
progressively more suspicious of the influence of Christianity,
which is experiencing significant growth in China.
“Bulldozing and burying alive Ding Cuimei, a peaceful and devout Christian woman, was a cruel, murderous act,” he said.
“The Chinese authorities should immediately hold those murderers accountable and take concrete measures to protect the religious freedom of this house church’s members.”
According to China Aid, police said they are investigating the incident and two members of the demolition team have been detained.
The Communist Party is believed to be becoming progressively more suspicious of the influence of Christianity, which is experiencing significant growth in China. Up to 1,700 churches have been demolished or had their crosses removed in Zhejiang province to the east of Henan, and a significant number of pastors and human rights lawyers have been arrested and imprisoned.
Activists believe that Zhejiang is being used by the government as a test-ground, and fear that anti-Christian measures may soon be rolled out in other provinces.
In November, five church leaders were arrested in Henan over accusations they were involved in cult practices.