Since early 2014, Zhejiang officials have toppled crosses from more than 400 churches, sometimes resulting in violent clashes with congregation members. They have said the crosses violate building codes, but critics say the rapid growth of Christian groups have made the ruling Communist Party nervous.
A Chinese province where authorities have forcibly removed hundreds of rooftop crosses from Protestant and Catholic churches has proposed a ban on any further placement of the religious symbol atop sanctuaries.
“The authorities have attached great importance to this religious symbol,” said Zheng Leguo, a pastor from the province who now lives in the United States. “This means no more prominent manifestation of Christianity in the public sphere.”
In April 2014, authorities forcibly demolished the Sanjiang Church, a highly visible structure then under construction on a hill just off a major highway in Wenzhou.
The campaign comes amid Beijing’s increasing restrictions on civil liberty