Authorities from the ruling Chinese communist party demolished a well-known church this week in the government’s latest crackdown on the Christian faith.
Over 70 police officers, along with a team of construction workers, tore down Liangwang Catholic Church in China’s Shandong province on July 17. What makes this case even more alarming is Lianwang is a state-sanctioned church. Those congregations that have been stamped with a seal of government approval usually escape persecution from the staunchly atheist governing party.
Three church caretakers, Gao Rongli, Zhang Siling and Li Xiangmei, who were inside the church when authorities arrived, were kicked out of the building and had their phones confiscated and destroyed. The church was razed to the ground in a matter of minutes.
Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness, a United States-based group which seeks to draw attention to the persecution of Christians in China, shared some harrowing images of the scene on Facebook.
A message from the group reads:
“On July 17, 2018, at 11 noon, the church of Liang Wang, the diocese of east, the Catholic Mountain, was forcibly demolished, and the number of people involved in the strong demolition was up to 70, and they snatched mobile phones, used large demolition equipment. The church was completely bulldozed in 15 minutes.”
According to CBN News, it is not uncommon to see government forces being deployed to demolish churches in the country on the grounds of “zoning issues.” A Catholic church near Xi’an in Shaanxi province was pulled down at the end of last year, despite possessing a permit for the use of its land.
“The disproportionate manpower used to demolish this church goes to show that China is fearful of Christians. The government knew that the demolition in the name of urban zoning would be met with resistance, so it ensured success by taking extreme measures,” said International Christian Concern’s Gina Goh. “Despite their best efforts to intimidate the Church with actions like this, the government cannot destroy the faith and resilience of Chinese Christians.”
(H/T: CBN News)