|Officials tear a cross down from atop a church
in this undated photo. China commonly targets
Christian structures for demolition in an attempt
to suppress the religion. (Photo: ChinaAid)
(Jinan, Shandong—Aug. 17, 2018) A 268 year-old Catholic church in Qianwang, Shandong faced a forced, unexplained demolition on Monday, prompting parishioners in the area to protest.
On Aug. 12, the day before the demolition, priests argued with government officials after learning of their plans to tear the church down. One church member said, “[The authorities] gave neither an explanation nor a solution before pulling down the church.”
The next day, more than 170 government personnel broke into the church and restricted the freedom of the priests and church members on duty. They then razed the entire building and smashed statues of Jesus and Mary.
In the chaos, the church also lost its offering box.
After the demolition, the church members gathered in the rain night and day to pray, recite the rosary, and beseech the Virgin Mary. 70 of them, including two priests and a nun, rallied at the municipal government, standing in a downpour and asking the officials to “investigate the case thoroughly and return our church and spiritual home” and stating that they “Condemn the demolition of churches and request a reasonable explanation.”
Despite their efforts, the Christians said that the government has no plans to rebuild the church, which was established in 1750.
This incident comprises the third Catholic church to be demolished in the area this year. The previous two were located in the Liangwang and Shilihe regions of Jinan, respectively. It is uncertain whether the churches will be able to be built again.
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Catholics in Shandong, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.
ChinaAid Media Team
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