China’s crackdown against Christianity continued to escalate throughout May, with numerous reports of church raids, cross removals, and intimidation of believers emerging from across the country.
According to persecution watchdog Bitter Winter, as China attempts to reopen after coronavirus lockdowns, communist authorities continue propagating “stability maintenance” measures that specifically target Christian places of worship.
Last week, the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness revealed on Twitter that a state-vetted church located at Panji District in the city of Huainan, Anhui Province, had its cross removed by authorities. In a video shared by the group, a worker can be seen standing on the now-vacant rooftop of the church next to a ladder.
In another post, CCFR shared photos of a house church in Shangrao city in Jiangxi province allegedly scheduled to be demolished. The photos show the church severely damaged, with ceiling tiles littered across the floor.
Bitter Winter reports that several churches in Dexing city, Shangrao city, and Fuzhou city were also raided by local authorities and told to shut down their churches and join the state-vetted Three-Self Church. Some church leaders were detained and forced to sign an agreement to stop gathering or join the official church.
Last week, footage emerged of police using force to disband a service at Xingguang Church in Xiamen city in the southeastern province of Fujian. During the raid carried out by security guards and officers from the local Ethnic and Religious Bureau, many believers were violently beaten, one of whom had to seek medical attention.
The church was reportedly banned after the raid, for which officers never presented warrants.
Gina Goh, International Christian Concern’s regional manager for Southeast Asia, said China has clearly resumed its crackdown on Christianity now that the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic has reduced.
“In recent weeks, we have seen an increased number of church demolitions and cross removals on state-sanctioned churches across China, as house church gatherings continue to face interruption and harassment. It is deplorable that the local authorities not only conducted this raid without proper procedure, but deployed excessive use of force against church members and bystanders,” she said. “ICC calls on the international community and the US government to condemn China’s constant human rights abuses.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett