|In a similar incident, Christians in Wenzhou, Zhejiang,
worship in the rubble of their demolished church on May 22,
2016. (Photo: ChinaAid)
(Shangqiu, Henan—June 1, 2017) A church in China’s central Henan province demands justice following the destruction of their church building and took more than 40 Christians into police custody, ChinaAid recently learned.
300 local police officers and city and inspectors forcibly demolished Shuangmiao Christian Church—which was under construction in Shangqiu, Henan—on the morning of May 5, dragging away around 40 Christians and leaving about 100 without a place of worship. During the demolition, officials beat dozens of church members, pushing them to the ground and twisting their hands. The church was completely razed, and a church member likened the scene to the Japanese invasion of China during World War II.
Of the 40 Christians seized, eight are still in custody, and the cases of Shuangmiao Christian Church pastor Zhang Di and the church’s vice director, Lü Yuexia, were recently transferred to the procuratorate, which will decide whether or not to formalize their arrest.
The Communist Party ordered the church’s demolition after labeling it an “illegal structure” and dispatched personnel to search the belongings of the Christians and construction workers. They confiscated phones and other personal property, damaged closets, smashed offering boxes, and stole laptops, money, and jewelry.
Officially, the government also alleges that the demolition was a punishment for refusing to pay 4,000 yuan ($588 USD) annually as part of an arbitrary road usage fee imposed by villagers who envy the church’s money. Before the demolition, the church tried to negotiate with the officials in an attempt to remedy this problem. This culminated in authorities summoning Zhang for questioning on May 2 and then seizing him on false charges of assaulting the police station, limiting the freedom of others, and attacking a village representative.
The church requests that the government adequately punish the leaders of those who have acted out violently against them and immediately release the detained Christians.
ChinaAid exposes the abuses experienced by Shuangmiao Christian Church members in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.
ChinaAid Media Team
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