A Christian community in the Chinese province of Hebei has occupied their church building in a bid to stop the Chinese authorities from tearing it down.
The Catholic church of Wu Gao Zhang was notified of the impending demolition November 1 after failed attempts by parish priests to negotiate with the authorities and save their place of worship. According to Asia News, the destruction was ordered on account of the church not possessing all the correct permits and in spite of it being government-approved.
The government has been ordering the destruction of several churches in recent weeks. Earlier this month, a 3,000-member church in Anhui province was bulldozed as congregants worshipped. Another church was flattened in Henan province.
“Beijing has been targeting official and unofficial church buildings without all the permits in order, leaving no room for a pardon solution,” persecution watchdog International Christian Concern (ICC) noted in a report. “But even if the churches have permit and are state-sanctioned, they could still be subject to demolition, as President Xi Jinping tightens his grip on religion.”
The organization noted that a secret deal signed between the Chinese government and the Vatican last year “does nothing to protect these churches.”
“According to several local Catholics, the agreement actually grants more power to the government authorities, which claim that “the Vatican supports us” and keeps silence on these episodes,” ICC added. “According to parishioners of the diocese of Handang, the government has decreed the destruction of 40 other churches.”
Please continue to pray for all those persecuted for their faith across the globe.