In Henan’s Dengfeng city, authorities are implementing a comprehensive demolition program targeting religious sites: parts of 36 temples, including ten protected historical and cultural sites, have been destroyed.
According to an internal Chinese Communist Party (CCP) document Compilation of Special Operation Exemplary Cases, issued in Henan Province in July 2018, the local authorities in Dengfeng have recently demolished Buddhist and Daoist sites in the Zhongling Mountain Scenic Area. Located 25 kilometers west of Dengfeng, in Yingyang, the mountain houses 36 temples, the largest one covering the area of 3,500 square meters, including ten historical and cultural sites.
The authorities dispatched 320 front loaders and other vehicles and allocated more than 200 kg of explosives for the demolition of the religious sites. 22,000 square meters of the buildings were completely demolished, including parts of the ten protected sites. Besides, 25 retail stores selling Buddhist and Daoist goods were destroyed. During the demolition, three individuals were detained and, afterward, the authorities opened 24 administrative cases.
In an attempt to make the forced demolitions seem legal, the local governments used propaganda before and after the sites were destroyed by claiming that the temples were guilty of “racketeering and illegal construction.” The authorities printed propaganda pamphlets and dispatched two publicity vehicles equipped with loudspeakers that continuously toured the scenic area. Besides, four massive advertising boards with anti-temple propaganda were placed on the sides of some major and secondary arterial roads in the area.
As per internal sources, the authorities invested over 180,000 RMB in installing infrared surveillance cameras in 23 locations and setting up a checkpoint on Zhongling Mountain to register any individuals or vehicles passing through.
Reported by Jiang Tao