The authorities illegally closed a Catholic establishment two years prior to its lease expiration.
In December 2015, officers from the Chengtou police station in Fuqing city charged into a Catholic oratory and ordered the believers to move out. When they persisted, personnel would visit the place repeatedly in efforts to drive them out. Finally, the police shut down the place of worship and forbade anyone from entering in the future.
The authorities attempted to demolish the oratory. The building’s 3rd-floor roof was damaged, and 17 holes of varying diameters between 1 to 2 meters were drilled into its cement slabs. The believers had partially restored them, and marks remain from where repairs were made.
As per reports, the oratory and the Virgin Pavilion was built by the underground Catholic church to which the structures were attached. It was an elderly member who rented the land for it, and approximately 2-3 million RMB were spent on the construction. The oratory was the gathering place for many priests, friars, and nuns in Fuqing and popular local religious festivals were held there.
The government, however, declared that the land could not be used for religious activities. While the lease for the oratory’s lot was valid till January 2018, the authorities violated this contract blatantly and closed it down two years before the deadline.
The oratory was looked after by an elderly member over 70 years of age and her son. The pair was driven out by police and they, along with the entire local Catholic community, are still angry about the Chinese Communist Party ’s actions.
Reported by Lin Yijiang
Facilities on the second floor all destroyed (Video)