Protestant church destroyed in Henan

Some members of the congregation were locked in a room as masked officials tore down part of the building. Protestant churches are targets. Fear grows of a nation-wide crackdown.

Dali (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A Protestant church was destroyed last Friday morning, 27 January, in Henan province.

A bulldozer tore down half of the four-storey building pulverising many facilities whilst Christians were remained locked in an office space inside.

Intruders hired by the authorities forcibly entered the Dali Christian Church, a government-recognised Three-Self (Protestant) congregation, carrying clubs.

They locked a church elder, named Ding, the church's temporary director, and several other Christians in the reception office, confiscated their cell phones, and threw away their SIM cards.

No one was allowed to enter the church, and the authorities forbade pictures.

The intruders then smashed and looted church property, and a front loader tore down about half of the building, destroying many facilities.

This event has sparked fears that the church and cross demolitions, which were part of a "beautification" campaign led by the authorities in Zhejiang province and targeted many Three-Self churches, will soon erupt into a nationwide endemic of abuse against government churches.