China has escalated its crackdown on Christianity in recent weeks, forcibly removing crosses from Protestant and Catholic churches, destroying unregistered church buildings and even demolishing the structure of a legal Three-Self congregation.
The actions come amidst an official campaign, known as Return to Zero, to eliminate unregistered house churches.
“The Communist Party is afraid that having a large number of people who believe in God will threaten their rule,” a house church pastor told Bitter Winter, which monitors religious persecution.
Government officials in Shandong province used a huge crane on Easter Sunday to remove the cross of a Protestant congregation, Grassland Church. A week later, officials in Henan province used a crane to remove two huge crosses atop a Catholic church. Shandong is the second-most populous province with 95 million people. Henan is third, with 94 million people.
ChinaAid, another organization that monitors religious persecution, reported the incidents.
“Since the Chinese government wrongly believes religions are an attempt by foreign powers to infiltrate China, they often restrict religious practice and expression, including cracking down on religious symbols being displayed on buildings,” ChinaAid reported.
Elsewhere, entire church buildings have been destroyed.
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Source: Christian Headlines