28 May 2017
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  • » 07/28/2015, 00.00

    CHINA

    Christians respond to demolitions in Zhejiang with a ‘Make and carry the cross" campaign



    In a joint online campaign, Catholics and Protestants call on the faithful to make crosses at home and carry them everywhere. This is a "peaceful and non-violent" response to the authorities’ campaign against the religious symbol. For Catholic priest, "Tomorrow you will see crosses everywhere in Zhejiang."

    Beijing (AsiaNews) – Catholics and Protestants in the eastern province of Zhejiang have launched an ‘ecumenical’ campaign to make crosses – the Christian symbol par excellence – and carry them everywhere.

    Launched on social media, the idea of ​​disobeying in a legal and peaceful manner has met with great success. It is a response to a “clean-up” policy undertaken by local authorities against churches and crosses, ostensibly because Christians failed to respect building regulations.

    Since 2013, when Zhejiang was designated as an area of ​​great economic development for 2020, the authorities have launched a policy of "beautifying" the region by removing illegal structures.

    Called ‘Three Rectifications and One Demolition,’ the campaign indicates the percentage of buildings to destroy, and land to be recovered for large-scale building development.

    According to the provincial government, all communities and private places are touched without distinction. However, Christian sites have been its main target.

    Catholics note that the first destruction orders were issued after Zhejiang party secretary Xia Baolong noted during an inspection that a church in Baiquan was too visible and an “eyesore”.

    Seeing that the skyline was full of crosses, he gave the order to "rectify" it. Since then, the party has been tearing down crosses, statues and churches.

    The Christian community has not taken this idly. On 24 July, Catholic bishop Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang of Wenzhou, who is almost 90, and 26 priests from his diocese protested outside government buildings to demand an end to the practice.

    Some Protestant communities have prepared instead a long memorandum describing the campaign "little more than a bad joke".

    Now some people are planning to make a cross in their own home. A Christian in Wenzhou posted on Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging site, a picture with a group of faithful preparing wooden crosses (pictured).

    A catholic priest who teaches at the Sichuan Catholic seminary, posted a similar message, calling on churches in other parts of the country to “join the relay” in the “safe and legal non-violent disobedience movement,” adding that “Tomorrow you will see crosses everywhere in Zhejiang”.

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    See also

    23/06/2014 CHINA
    Wenzhou, police threaten Christians who want to protect churches and crosses
    Scheduled for today a silent demonstration outside the offices of the Government of Pingyang County: leaders of all 135 Christian churches of Pingyang (all members of the officially sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement) had confirmed their presence at the event. The authorities have "warned" of the problems that may arise. A Christian leader: "We will take the cross down from the top of our church when the Communist Party takes down its party flag."

    11/08/2015 CHINA
    “Cry Out! Be Silent No More!” say Wenzhou priests
    The priests in the south-eastern diocese call on those who want justice to take part in a peaceful and legal rally to stop the demolition campaign currently underway in Zhejiang. Officials responsible for the latter have been doing it “with a vengeance” and "must be brought to justice." The priests are ready for anything, even death, to do what is right. “When one cross is removed, one million crosses will be erected.”

    12/05/2016 11:36:00 CHINA
    Protestant pastor who protested cross demolitions is released

    The authorities released Zhang Chongzhu, the official church pastor in Pyongyang in Zhejiang. He sent word outside China about the government's new campaign and invited them to "stand in a circle and watch" as the crosses are demolished in the Chinese province.



    27/08/2015 CHINA
    Zhejiang faithful re-erect cross government demolished: a "theft"
    The Communist Party campaign launched has already affected 1200-1500 buildings and crosses. No government organization has claimed responsibility for the destruction.

    24/03/2016 09:17:00 CHINA
    Zhang Kai, lawyer who defends China’s crosses from demolition, is released

    After appearing on television to "confess his crimes" and spending six months under "house arrest", the lawyer was released. Together with activists for civil liberties, he defended the Christian churches against Zhejiang province authorities.





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