The Chinese Communist Party forcibly removed the 100-year-old Shuixin Church's cross, eliciting strong condemnation from international human rights organization ChinaAid.
Around 100 Chinese security guards forcibly removed the cross of the 100-year-old Shuixin Church in Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province at midnight on Feb. 1. People attending the church reported that they have rejected the local government official's request to remove the cross from the church's roof which is why the authorities had to forcibly remove it.
During the two-hour-long removal process of the cross, more than 10 government-contracted men used a crane to left the cross off from the church roof.
Around 11:30 pm on Jan. 31, Zhou Qingquan, deputy secretary of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the Yaoxi subdistrict, Longwan district, and Hu Xiandong, commissioner of unit front work department at the Yaoxi subdistrict, Longwan district, rushed inside the church with approximately 100 security guards. After the electricity was cut off, they hurriedly took the church's night watch staff into custody, according to ChinaAId.
One of the Christians who observed what happened said:
"Several security guards held one church co-worker in a headlock and confiscated his cell phone. They warned him, "Do not fight back. We are enforcing orders from higher officials."
"One security guard threatened to beat a church co-worker, but another officer stopped him."
The forced removal of the church's cross began around 11:30 pm on Jan. 31 and ended at 1:35 am on Feb. 1.
A believer who attends the Shuixin Church posted on social media saying:
"The CCP has forcibly removed Shuixin church's cross several times in the past. During the first cross removal at 2 pm on June 30, 2014, the Zhejiang government had launched a campaign called "Renovation of old residential areas, old industrial plants and urban-villages, and demolishing of illegal buildings." Government contractors forcibly removed the cross from Shuixin church in the name of "demolishing of illegal buildings.""
Another Local Christian named Mr. Lin said "In 2014, the government paid a number of security guards to remove crosses from churches. While the men forcibly removed our church's cross, they held brothers and sisters in custody. Four years later, we re-erected our cross, but now CCP officials have removed it again."
The Zhejiang provincial Christian Committee and the Three-self movement committee issued a notice on Jan. 26 that temporarily bans all religious activities in the entire province in line with COVID-19 restrictions.
Mr. Lin claimed the real purpose of the notice "is not to control the spread of COVID-19, but to use it as an excuse to deprive people of their religious activities."
Another believer of the Shuixin Church also posted on social media how the government forcibly removed their church's cross and questioned the government:
- "Why would such a brutal conflict happen in a civil society?"
- "Who openly challenged the authority of the Constitution?"
- "Who are those trampling on believers' dignity and bottom line?"
ChinaAid expressed how they strongly condemn the CCP's forcible removal of the cross from Shuixin Church and urges CCP officials to stop "infringing on Chinese citizens' religious freedom" out of "respect" for their "constitutional" right of "freedom of religious belief."
This is not the first time the CCP forcibly removed crosses from churches. The communist regime continues to engage in a crackdown on Christianity in the country, persecuting the faithful wherever they are found. Believers are urged to pray for fellow followers of Christ in China.