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    » 07/29/2014, 00.00

    CHINA

    Wenzhou, more crosses torn down. Ningbo Cathedral burned



    The faithful of the Longgang Huai En church try to bar police and to save their cross, but are put aside. Some protest with banners: "Anti-graft, anti-corruption, protect religion". Instead the fire that destroyed the interior of Jiangbei cathedral, one of the oldest Catholic churches in all of China is judged accidental.

    Wenzhou (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of officers in riot gear tore down the cross of the Longgang Huai En Protestant church in Wenzhou, city of the southern province of Zhejiang. A campaign is being waged in the province against Christian places of worship and symbols: Wenzhou, once known as the "Jerusalem of China" is at the center of government persecution. Also yesterday, an accidental fire destroyed the interior of the Catholic cathedral in Ningbo: it is one of China's oldest Christian churches.  

    According to the evangelical pastor Linuo Qu Wenzhou, removal of the 3-meter high cross from the Longgang church took place in a peaceful manner despite the presence of about 200 people who tried to prevent the police being set aside. The authorities claim that the cross violated the building regulations and height restrictions for private facilities and returned the cross to the congregation. Some of these were carrying placards bearing the words "Anti-graft, anti-corruption, protect religion".  

    Since January 2014, the campaign "Three notices and demolition" launched by the government has resulted in the demolition of about 360 crosses or Christian buildings and the demolition of a church. According to local Christians, the campaign is a clear example of religious persecution; for the government, the initiative "targets illegal buildings, not only churches".

    Meanwhile, the fire that destroyed the interior of Jiangbei cathedral in Ningbo has been judged ompletely accidental. The fire spread from the altar and in a few minutes devastated benches, objects for worship and works of art housed inside. One of the firemen who helped extinguish the fire commented: "A pity and a great loss. This church is really a beautiful building."

    Built in 1872, the cathedral is one of the oldest in the entire country. In previous years, during the Maoist revolution, it was used as a clandestine meeting place by some members of the newborn Communist Party, and for this has been termed a "monument of historical importance" since the birth of modern China. This alone saved it from the destruction during the Cultural Revolution, although for a long time it was closed to Christian worship.

     

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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."

    30/07/2015 CHINA
    Unofficial catholic community of Wenzhou speak out against forced demolition of Crosses, whole diocese fasting
    After 90-year-old Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang of Wenzhou led 26 priests of the open Church community to protest against the government’s act to demolish Crosses, Coadjutor Bishop James Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou also led his priests to issue an open statement “Strongly demand a halt to demolish Crosses on all churches.

    20/06/2014 CHINA
    More Zhejiang churches to be torn down in demolition campaign, christian "ready to fight to the end"
    A Pingyang county pastor said worshippers from at least three of the county's churches had vowed to fight the demolition to the end. In the province, about 360 churches or buildings with crosses affixed on them have been forcibly torn down in the "Three Rectifications and One Demolition" campaign since January.

    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.



    20/05/2014 CHINA
    Zhejiang: more crosses and churches demolished. Domestic and official Churches persecuted
    A Catholic Way of the Cross destroyed, domestic communities shut down and scattered. Officially, it is to “beautify” the city by destroying buildings held to be “illegal”. But the real reason is that it is an attempt to eliminate anything that contrasts the Party’s power and seize land for property development . Religions are the biggest threat to society (ie the Party ) . A Protestant minister : You can destroy a building, but not the church as a community.



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