The church, officially registered, hinders the construction of a park. For four years the city government had promised to give new ground to the community, but never provided it. Catholics protest: "Give me back my church, give me back my heart".
Jinan (AsiaNews) - Another officially registered Catholic church was destroyed because it hindered urban projects. About a month ago, again in the district of Licheng, on the outskirts of Jinan, the church of Liangwang had been destroyed for the same reasons.
The destruction took place in Qianwang on August 13th. Around midday a hundred "thugs" arrived suddenly in the church and began demolition work on the building, smashing the altar, the statues and the benches. In a video released on social media, the destroyed furniture, walls and the severed head of a statue of Our Lady can be seen (photo 1).
The next day, around 70 community members, including two priests and one nun, demonstrated in front of the city government headquarters (photo 2). Under a violent rain, they carried banners and signs with phrases: "Give me back my church; give me back my heart! "and" We condemn the demolition of the church and ask the authorities for a reasonable explanation! "
According to local sources, the parish priest of the destroyed church, Fr. Wang Junbao, was able to speak with the authorities of Licheng who promised to find a new space to rebuild the church, even if "it will take a long time".
The church of Qianwang dates from 1750 (photo 4). In 1958, under Mao Zedong, the building was seized and used for other purposes. In 1987, in obedience to the Chinese laws ordered by Deng Xiaoping, the church was returned to the Diocese of Jinan, which proceeded to register it as a sacred building of the official Church, including the new urban planning of the area, launched in 1998.
But a few years ago, in 2014, a new park and residential complex was planned for the site and the government wanted to demolish the church. The diocese had accepted the government decision on the back of a pledge to find new ground to rebuild the church. Instead, three days ago, without any warning and without having another place of prayer, the church was destroyed.
Moreover, according to local sources, this has always been the policy of the Licheng government: in all these years the diocese had always asked to have the new land first and then leave the church. The government has always responded: "Leave immediately".