As the CCP sends armed police to rectify or demolish places of worship, congregations resist them bravely defending the right to practice their faith.
by Shen Xiang
In China, anyone trying to defend their legitimate rights or religious liberties is deemed to be in opposition to the government and is likely to be attacked and even arrested. The communist regime prefers violence to dialogue and believes that it is the only god worthy to be worshiped.
100 police officers dispatched to “enforce the law” on peaceful protestors
On October 17 last year, a bloody incident happened in front of a True Jesus Church, which belongs to the government-run Three-Self Church in Yuanjiang, a county-level city in the central province of Hunan. Over 20 congregation members protesting the removal of the church signboard.
That day, over 70 believers, standing peacefully hand-in-hand in three lines to guard their church, were confronted by more than 100 public security and police officers. They were dispatched by the city authorities to remove an electronic display with the church name above its entrance.
When the church director and three congregation members, one of whom is disabled, were violently dragged into a vehicle and taken to a police station, a believer in his 70s rebuked the police for being heartless. Two special police officers immediately threw him to the ground, while others started beating and hitting believers without discrimination, breaking through their lines. They then climbed up a ladder to remove the display using iron sticks and hammers.
A believer in her 60s had three of her ribs broken. A 78-year-old congregation member suffered an injury to her waist, and another elderly believer was wounded in the back of her head. More than 20 believers suffered minor injuries.
The government not only did not reimburse their medical expenses but demanded the church to compensate 10,000 RMB (about $ 1,400) for “preventing state agencies to enforce the law,” or the arrested church director and three congregation members would be sent to a detention center.
Later the same afternoon, the Dawan True Jesus Church’s signboard in the city’s Wudao community was also removed similarly. Some elderly believers lay in front of the church entrance to protest the removal, but armed police officers unscrupulously ordered an excavator to drive toward them, threatening to demolish the church if they continued protesting. The believers hurriedly moved away, but several were still beaten and injured.
Signboards were removed from the other five True Jesus Church venues in the city: Sun True Jesus Church, Magongpu True Jesus Church, Shizhu Community True Jesus Church, Shiji Lake True Jesus Church, and Star True Jesus Church.
An elderly temple owner violently beaten
At 6 a.m. on November 23 last year, over a dozen government officials and demolition workers from Yanshi city in the central province of Henan came to a small Taoist temple on a hill to demolish it.
The 72-year-old temple owner was still asleep when the officials and four young men kicked the temple’s door open. Without showing any documents, they held the owner’s arms behind her back, covered her head with clothes, and forcibly dragged her outside and down a hill. The woman was screaming that she was choking, but men continued to drag her until she lost consciousness. The neighbors who witnessed the scene pleaded with the officials but were only rebuked.
“Her clothes were stained with blood, seeping from the wounds caused by stones on the road when she was dragged,” an eyewitness told Bitter Winter.
As soon as the woman’s relatives learned what was happening, they rushed to the temple but were intercepted by the officials halfway up the hill.
“She is in her 70s; do you want to kill her? Don’t you have parents?” someone criticized the officials. The owner’s relatives finally managed to take her to a hospital, and the officials ordered the excavator to level the temple to the ground. Two temple’s disciples were detained.
According to local sources, the temple had a religious activity venue registration certificate. Still, not long after the new Regulations on Religious Affairs came into effect in February 2018, local officials repeatedly ordered the owner to demolish it. She managed to delay her temple’s demolition twice, once, by threatening to kill herself with a knife in front of officials. The owner petitioned the government to defend her rights but was rejected and threatened to be imprisoned if she complained again.