A Three-Self church in Yunnan Province was arbitrarily demolished to make way for “consolidation.”
On April 8, the Three-Self government-controlled Denglongba Church received a notice from the Lushui City Bureau of Religious Affairs that the church’s certification has been canceled, and the congregation should be merged with a less populated church in the city, the Christian Two Meetings’ Center Church. The notice also stated that members of the church should demolish their place of worship themselves within three days. This was being done “to achieve the submission of religions and stability of society” under the “Lushui City Religious Activities Sites Consolidation Program.”
The members refused to demolish the church, believing that the government’s initiative to consolidate the churches was a serious violation of freedom of religion as granted by the constitution. Moreover, Three-Self churches are approved by the government, and their church was not conducting “illegal religious activities,” as was stated in the notice.
On April 12, the authorities turned up at the church. Their contingent included a total of 200 individuals from various law enforcement and religious departments. They completed the demolition within four hours.
The members of the church had spent nearly 500,000 RMB or almost 74,000 USD to build the church. They also filed a petition after the demolition, but the court dismissed it, and lawyers refuse to represent them. The church has now been merged with the Christian Two Meeting’s Center Church, as per the government order.
Reported by Bai Lin