Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Chinese Authorities Demolish Evangelical Church in Crack Down

Chinese Authorities Demolish Evangelical Church in Crack Down

A huge church purportedly built with nearly £2 million raised from local worshippers in one of China's poorest regions has been demolished by authorities, the latest flashpoint between religious groups and the officially atheist Communist Party.

Witnesses and overseas activists say paramilitary People's Armed Police forces used excavators and dynamite on Tuesday to destroy the Golden Lampstand Church in the city of Linfen, southern Shanxi province.

Chinese authorities detonated explosives in an underground worship hall earlier this week, ChinaAid, a USA -based Christian advocacy group, reports.

It's not the first time the church, which has a congregation of more than 50,000, has been targeted.

In an earlier crackdown in 2009, squads of the Chinese regime's security goons descended on the church to smash the building and seize bibles from its members, according to ChinaAid.

"It has now been demolished", a church member said.

In China religion freedom is only limited to papers but in actual life there is religious freedom as the Chinese government demands priests to stick to the laws and churches to be approved by the government.

"China repeatedly cracks down on house churches, which are churches that refuse to register, often to opt out of government monitoring".


Evangelist Yang's daughter described the recent explosion and demolition.

A pastor of a nearby church said that there were "more police than I could count" preventing worshippers from approaching the site. "Officials often prosecute such choices, however, and some of Golden Lampstand Church's leaders have been imprisoned for one to seven years, simply for serving at their church", the organization said in a statement on Tuesday. Patrol wagons guarded the church.

Another church was demolished in a small village in Shaanxi in late December, according to AsiaNews, a China-focused Catholic news website. Since October 2016 when she completed her penalty of assembling people she is in police investigation reported China Aid which is a Christian NGO.

Yang Rongli, who was arrested in 2011 for being a part of the church said she saw the demolition.

He said: "The repeated persecution of Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights". The state-run Global Times newspaper cited an unidentified local official claiming the church did not hold the necessary permits.

While authorities did not block the church's construction, they later cracked down on it, and the couple and other church leaders were sent to prison.

Christians have protested against church demolitions, with a video captured in Shanxi in August showing a clash between Catholics and government representatives who were using bulldozers to destroy church property.

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