Within less than 30 days two churches have been demolished in China by local authorities. This action is triggering Chinese Christians’ fear. Chinese authorities are about to implement new law for religions.
On Sunday, police sealed the Golden Lampstand church in Linfen before vandalizing it, witnessed the head priest.
Another Catholic church was pulverized in Shaanxi in province last month. That church was demolished only 20 years of its construction without any reason.
In China religion freedom is only limited to papers but in actual life there is religious freedom as the Chinese government demands priests to stick to the laws and churches to be approved by the government.
Christians in China prefer to worship independently in house churches because there are no such restraints. But still occasionally pastors are arrested and buildings are destroyed because authorities considered them unofficial groups who gather in a building for worship.
Since 2013, putting up crosses which is a church symbol is being removed from church buildings like cathedrals. According to some Christian activists over 1,200 crosses are removed from chapels yet.
An annual report of United States department conducted on religion freedom noted that registered and non registered religious practitioners are physically punished by the government of China. According to this report “the government physically abused, detained, arrested, tortured, sentenced to prison, or harassed adherents of both registered and unregistered religious groups for activities related to their religious beliefs and practices”.
Pastor A (whose name is concealed for security reason) said that Christian worshippers were hindered by police to reach the church site which was being demolished.
The government had no logic of smashing the Golden Lampstand chapel since it was constructed in 2008 costing 17m yuan said a female head priest Yang Rongli. Earlier this priest was jailed for 7 years for leading a crowd which destroyed traffic law and order. Since October 2016 when she completed her penalty of assembling people she is in police investigation reported China Aid which is a Christian NGO.
Founder of China Aid Bob Fu said that he perceived the government strategy behind pulverizing church buildings is to stop people from constructing more churches in China or it might be preliminary for implementing new religious laws next month.
The China government imposed revised religious laws in 2017. According to this law churches will be fined 300,000 yuan for towering statues outside the church buildings and “unauthorized religious activities”. The authorities wanted to delimit the religious building construction in the region.