» 06/23/2014, 00.00
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."
- A plan by Christians in Zhejiang province to hold a protest today over a
government campaign to remove crosses from their churches is likely to be
called off, a church leader said last night. Police had called several pastors
and warned them against joining a silent protest outside Pingyang county's
government offices in Wenzhou , the pastor said.
received a call from a senior officer from Pingyang county police station to
ask whether I was the main organiser of tomorrow's silent protest, which they
said would put everyone in trouble because it's illegal," the pastor said
last night talking with the South China Morning Post. The police calls had led
other church leaders to also withdraw from the protest, the pastor said.
135 churches in Pingyang county, which are all members of the officially
sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches and the
China Christian Council, had originally agreed to join the protest. Wenzhou has
one of the highest concentrations of Christians on the mainland.
360 crosses and one church have been torn down in Zhejiang since January in the "Three Rectifications
and One Demolition" campaign, said China Aid, a US-based religious rights
group. Opponents say the campaign amounts to religious persecution, while local
government officials argue the initiative only targets "all illegal
buildings, not just churches".
cross is sacred and inviolable for all Christians. It's definitely a
humiliation for us to take down crosses from our churches," another pastor
in Pingyang said. "We are very angry, but the local authorities threatened
us not to send anyone to petition Beijing or talk to overseas media. "We
decided on a silent protest because we have no other way to go."
have repeatedly sent representatives to try to negotiate with the authorities,
asking them which rules our churches have violated and we will try our best to
correct it, but all of our requests have fallen on deaf ears," a third
pastor from the county said.
leaders have vowed to continue their campaign to protect the crosses. A source
close to the county government said officials had been told that a provincial
leader would visit Pingyang on an inspection tour on June 28 to assess progress
in removing crosses that breach regulations.
why the county government and police are so anxious to watch us closely,"
another church leader in the county said. "We
have pledged to protect our cross. We will take it down from the top of
our church when the Communist Party takes down its party flag."
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.
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.
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."
07/09/2016 11:40:00 CHINA - VATICAN
Bishop Zhu Weifang of Wenzhou, the city of demolished crosses, has died
The coadjutor bishop, Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, has been kidnapped by the police to prevent him attending the funeral, as he is not recognized by the government. Three priests also kidnapped. The state authorities have banned the underground faithful from participating in the funeral. The late bishop had spent 16 years at hard labor and in jail.
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.
EGYPT – LEBANON
Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'
A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.
15/01/2018 LEBANON - SYRIA
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.