Zhejiang officials forcibly
remove a cross from a
Yuhuan County church.
(Taizhou, Zhejiang—July 30, 2015) As the government in coastal Zhejiang province continues to remove church crosses, local Christians protested the forced removal of three churches’ crosses in a Taizhou subdistrict on July 21.
Officials forcibly removed crosses from Sanlian Anxi Church, Lingtou Church and Tangli Church in Yuhuan County and met resistance from church members, many of whom were forced to leave the premises.
China Aid’s reporter called the township government to inquire about these incidents, and the official confirmed the government’s plan to remove all crosses from local churches. However, he only stated that there was evidence supporting the removal of the crosses and failed to provide a reason for their removal. Although the official didn’t know the exact number, Christians in Wenzhou estimate that 54 crosses in Yuhuan County will be removed by the end of July.
A Christian in Yuhuan County informed the reporter on July 21 that two churches crosses would be removed the following morning, including Houwan Christian and an older church.
To emphasize the legality of their cause and protest the removal of the crosses, Christians across Taizhou District united in their efforts to preserve religious liberty through peaceful protests and statements addressed to both government officials and other Christians.
During the demolition of Tangli Church’s cross, church attendees gathered together outside the building to sing hymns, resist the cross’s removal, and hold a sign that read, “We insist on obeying the law and insist on resisting illegal removals.” Under Chinese constitutional law, citizens are granted freedom of religion, and churches that register under the government are guaranteed legal protection.
On July 21, the churches in Sanmen County, Taizhou declared that the government’s actions violated the constitution, disgraced the dignity of the law, ignored Chinese citizens’ legal right to religious freedom, and illegally removed what Christians consider a symbol of peace. The declaration also stated that Christians are citizens who follow the law and are dedicated to upholding the dignity of the law and protecting their faith.
The churches in Sanmen County join numerous other Christians who have chosen to protest non-violently and resist cooperating with the government unless officials abide by the law regarding religious freedom, as mandated by the Chinese constitution.