|Shuangcun Church attendees cling to
the cross to prevent it from being
(Photo: China Aid)
By Brynne Lawrence
(Taizhou, Zhejiang—July 31, 2015) On July 22, government officials continued their cross removal initiative by breaking into a house church in China’s coastal Zhejiang and forcibly removing its cross despite church members’ attempts to halt the demolition.
The Taizhou municipal government sent approximately 300 employees to Shuangcun Church, where several Christians surrounded the church’s cross and tied themselves to it to prevent it from being moved. The officials dragged the church members away. During the conflict, one man shouted, “Resist the forced removal of the cross. It is illegal.”
A prior attempt to remove Shuangcun Church’s cross occurred on June 30, 2014, when police officers took the cross from the top of the church; however, they didn’t demolish it, and church attendees re-erected the cross on the ground.
During last year’s cross removal, the government said that their intent was to “rectify” the church building, despite its recognition as a “place with outstanding standards” in 2011’s “Build Harmonious Churches” campaign. Their statement referenced the “Three Rectifications and One Demolition,” movement that began in January 2014. They have not stated their reasoning behind this year’s attempt.
The same morning, officials removed the cross atop Houwan Church in Wenzhou. A church attendee told China Aid’s reporter that the government is using cross demolitions to terrorize Christians in Wenzhou by crushing their “mental boundaries.”