CHINA TEARS DOWN CHURCH AT EASTER
Authorities demolish state-sanctioned church
News has emerged from China that the authorities have torn down an official state-sanctioned church over Easter. The demolition of Donghu Church in Qinghai province shows the authorities are not just clamping down on the underground church, but on official churches as well.
Donghu Church had 300 members and was the oldest and largest church in its district. Release partner ChinaAid report the building was ripped down on April 12, due to ‘safety concerns’.
That’s the pretext that has been used repeatedly to tear down crosses from churches – the so-called risk to members of the public.
There is a history of the authorities trying to close down Donghu Church. On Christmas day they cut the power while the service was underway. And in 2017 the fire department closed the church citing a ‘hidden danger’.
The following year, the church bought a new building, but the Religious Bureau refused to allow the congregation to relocate there or to renovate the building.
So they began meeting in a hotel, to be told that constituted an ‘illegal gathering’. Now the Chinese authorities have pulled down their church.
Release partners ChinaAid say the Christians refuse to be dismayed. ‘The government can destroy the building, but they could never destroy the faith in their hearts.’
Tola Mbakwe of Premier Radio asked Release about the demolition and the increasing clampdown in China, even at a time of coronavirus.
Release International has produced a range of resources for churches in lockdown to help Christians to better understand and support the persecuted church. These include video clips, Bible talks, prisoner profiles and interactive activities. They’re available here