09/17/2009, 00.00
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Protestant church destroyed by police in Shanxi. Dozens of faithful wounded

Night-time raid by 400 police and bulldozers. Hospital doctors are forbidden to treat the wounded. The campaign for the removal of underground Protestant communities. Video of the destruction

Beijing (AsiaNews / ChinaAid) - Hundreds of police have destroyed a Protestant church and beaten dozens of faithful in the province of Shanxi. Many of them are hospitalized, but have been refused any medical help at the behest of the police. According to the local government the building was not a church, but an illegal construction. (See video: Violent Crackdown on Shanxi Church).

This latest attack on religious freedom took place on 13 September at 3 am in Linfeng, Fushan County. According to eye witness accounts gathered by the China Aid Association, during the night, at least 400 police officers and people with red armbands entered the building that served as a chapel inside a shoe and clothing factory (the Good News Cloth Shoes Factory ). With the help of two bulldozers they began to destroy the building while the police using bricks and other tools attacked the faithful present there, who were sleeping in the building under construction to prevent its destruction. In one hour, at least 10 people were seriously injured, others lost consciousness and were taken to hospital. According to witnesses, ER doctors received the order from authorities to delay treatment and banned from making blood transfusions.


The violence lasted for hours. The police left the area just before dawn, leaving at least 100 wounded. The chapel building and other factory buildings were reduced to rubble. Furniture, Bibles, mobile phones and money were destroyed or stolen. One of the faithful said that the scene “is worse than the earthquake in Sichuan”.

In China, freedom of worship is allowed only in buildings and with personnel registered with the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Prayers and religious services in non registered localities are illegal. But many Catholics and Protestants prefer this risk to the suffocating control of their activities by the Patriotic Associations. Sometimes Protestant communities seek recognition from the authority and permission to build a church, but local governments refuse them.


Since 2007 China has implemented a campaign against underground Protestant communities that, according to conservative estimates, count more than 50 million faithful. The campaign aims for the absorption of communities into the Movement of the three autonomies, the official Protestant communities controlled by the government, or their suppression (see Secret party document wants to “normalise” Chinese Protestants).

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