June 16, 2010
JIANGSU — In December 2008, the government destroyed three Chengnan Church building in Tinghu District, Yancheng City. Now, the Yancheng authorities have ordered that the remaining buildings of the church be forcibly demolished. On June 6, the authorities sent a band of citizens, acting illegally on pretense of enforcing the law, to beat up Christians and to disrupt the Sunday worship held beside the ruins of the church. Chengnan Church members have protested the scheduled demolition, and refuse to give up meeting on the church grounds.
In 2005, the Christians of Chengnan Church in Tinghu District, Yancheng City spent five million yuan (nearly $750,000), gathered through donations and pooled funds, to build the main church building. The church was registered at that time as a Three-Self Patriotic Movement church, and their documentation for the church properties were all in order.
In 2006, real estate developers took notice of the land on which the church was built; after reviewing the property they saw a promising business prospect in developing the land with commercial residential buildings. Appealing to government officials, they leveraged the local government’s support in exerting pressure on the church. The church agreed to resolve this issue on reasonable grounds, through proper consultations (and estimates) with the developers and government officials. However, the real estate developers wanted to buy the land for only 2.86 million yuan, much less than the original cost and current value of the structure; the developers and government officials further refused to provide alternative land for the relocation of the church.
When the church found it impossible to accept the unfair conditions offered by the authorities, the realtors colluded with the local officials to harass the church.
On December 17, 2008, a mob of demolition and removal personnel sent by the authorities confiscated the church properties and injured over 10 Christians who tried to prevent them from doing so. They forcibly destroyed the facilities of the church, including the office building, training center, cafeteria, resulting in a loss of over three million yuan of the church properties.
Read more here: Registered Church in Jiangsu Province Demolished, Christians Beaten
Chengnan church members plan to continue pressing for the rights of the church, but will likely face more loss at the hands of the Yangcheng government.
ChinaAid urges the Chinese Government to reinforce the law, and eradicate the corrupt practices of Yancheng officials conspiring with real estate developers. We urge the government to protect the property and the due rights of their citizens. We call on the international community to pray for the members of Chengnan Church, as they face losing their remaining buildings.