August 02, 2015

"Tensions are worsening rapidly in the eastern province of Zhejiang, south of Shanghai, which is home to a significant segment of China’s Christian population."

Daily Beast The Zhejiang Christian Council estimates there are some 2 million Christians in the province. There are more than 1,200 churches. Wenzhou, the provincial capital, is known as “the Jerusalem of the East.” by Brendon Hong

'While open worship is technically allowed, with permits issued by the Chinese government, the Christians of Zhejiang still clash with the authorities because of repressive measures taken by local party officials. The latest move by the Chinese Communist Party is the destruction of Christian crosses, ostensibly to preserve the land’s “safety and beauty.” Taking the harassment a step further, Chinese officials have deployed chanting Buddhist monks who also burned incense, which church members believe was a futile attempt to goad them into physical altercations.

'As one pastor told the South China Morning Post, taking away the crosses is “similar to stripping off our clothes to humiliate us.”

'The Chinese government began destroying crosses and churches in Zhejiang since early 2014, citing zoning laws, an infrastructure and land reform plan called San Gai Yi Chai (Three Reforms, One Demolition), and targeting “excessive religious sites.” The irony is that local officials in the recent past encouraged the construction of churches in hopes of developing them into tourist attractions for the region. All that seems to have been forgotten amid the rush of demolition orders.'

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