Local authorities forcibly removed the cross from a government-approved Protestant church in Henan’s Dengfeng city, provoking protests from members of the congregation.
At 6:30 a.m. on August 30, local officials directed a crane to dismantle the cross on Mu’en Church, which belongs to the China Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement. At least 50 public security and special police officers were deployed to guard the site.
After one hour, the cross was dismantled, and members of the congregation rushed to the church where they started arguing with the official in charge of the dismantling. The official told them that Henan was the key province for “remediating” religious belief, and the dismantling of the cross was part of this process. His words angered the believers even more, and police officers intervened, pushing and shoving them and also taking some away. Their whereabouts are still unknown.
Some believers said that they would file a petition to seek justice, but the official threatened that if they did so, the authorities would convict them of holding illegal gatherings and close down the church. ”If the government says you’re guilty, you’re guilty!” he said.
Christian churches in Henan are increasingly persecuted, and even the government-controlled places of worship are not spared. According to informed sources, this province is particularly targeted following President Xi Jinping’s specific order
Reported by Jiang Tao
Video: Believers are arrested for protesting the forced removal of the cross.