Communist officials demolished a church in China’s Henan province for engaging in “illegal fundraising” after forcibly removing congregants, injuring two elderly people in the process.
According to Chinese persecution watchdog Bitter Winter, True Jesus Church was razed to the ground completely. A new lawn with saplings was planted in place of the church, bearing no trace of its existence.
The persecution began on June 22 when about 60 officials with the Religious Affairs Bureau stormed True Jesus Church, located in Caidu town of Shangcai county, under the jurisdiction of Zhumadian city in the central province of Henan.
Authorities reportedly cut off the church’s electrical supply before climbing over the courtyard wall to break the gate lock and entering the building where about 200 believers were meeting.
Alleging the church was engaged in “illegal fundraising” and was, thus, an “illegal building,” the director of the Religious Affairs Bureau, who was in charge of the raid, ordered the person in charge to vacate the church. He informed congregants the church would be converted into a nursing home. However, the congregation refused to comply.
Over the following weeks, police continued to harass the church, frequently surveilling and recording services at the church from its entrance.
Just over a month later, nearly 1,000 personnel from several county departments gathered at a nearby school, getting ready for an operation to forcibly demolish the church. Police officers were reportedly ordered to drag out all believers from the church, no matter how many would be present.
As soon as all orders were given, the group of 1,000 people went to the church and cordoned off all intersections leading to the building. Officers stormed inside and began dragging out congregants who were guarding the church. Two elderly believers were injured; one was taken to the hospital because her blood pressure spiked from the stress.
After thoroughly searching the church, the police took away a piano and four air-conditioning units. Then, eight excavators began demolishing the church, worth about 10 million RMB (about $1,400,000).
Authorities continued to persecute church members even after the church was demolished. In August, eight persons in charge of the church and 13 churchgoers were charged with committing “unlawful detention” of the director and were arrested.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett