The Chinese Government has demolished an evangelical church in Henan province after members refused to allow the building to be repurposed by the State.
True Jesus Church was first raided back in June, as more than 200 congregants gathered to worship. As the church raised high the name of Jesus, 60 government officials stormed in under the cover of darkness after cutting the power to the facility.
The director of the Religious Affairs Bureau, who was heading the up the raid, accused the church of engaging in “illegal fundraising” and declared it to be an illegal building as a result. He immediately ordered the church leadership to arrange the closure of the building so it could be turned into a nursing home.
The church refused.
So, the government-led action was ramped up.
More from persecution watchdog, Bitter Winter:
“After the raid, the police frequently surveilled and recorded services at the church from its entrance. What believers didn’t know was that the government was planning a covert crackdown.
At around 3 a.m. on July 26, nearly 1,000 personnel from several county departments gathered at a nearby school, getting ready for an operation to forcibly demolish the church. According to sources who were present at the gathering, police officers were ordered to drag out all believers from the church, no matter how many would be present. To prevent information from leaking, nobody inside the church was allowed to take photos or makes phone calls.”
As soon as all orders were given, the group of 1,000 people went to the church. All intersections leading to the church were cordoned off, officers stormed inside, and started dragging out congregants who were guarding the church. Two elderly believers were injured in the process; one was taken to the hospital because her blood pressure spiked from the stress.
Then, the demolition began. Footage from the scene shows the enormous building being flattened by heavy machinery:
The church was worth around $1.4 million. Despite numerous valuable items and belongings of church members being left inside the building, the authorities continued to demolish the site. They then removed all the rubble and laid new ground, leaving absolutely no trace of the church building — it was as if it never existed.
The authorities didn’t stop there. According to Bitter Winter, in August, eight leaders connected to the church and 13 churchgoers were charged with committing “unlawful detention.”
One church member told the watchdog that the government’s action was similar to the brutal force exhibited at Tiananmen Square. “The CCP framed university students for rioting and used tanks to crush many of them to death,” the believers noted. “The Communist Party will resort to any means possible to achieve its goals.”
Do continue to pray for all those persecuted for their faith in China.