Authorities destroy a newly-built center for members of a government-controlled Three-Self church in Guangdong Province.
A believer from mainland China wrote to Bitter Winter about the destruction of a five-story center for believers built by a government-controlled Three-Self church in Shanwei city, Guangdong Province. Believers at home and abroad raised over 10 million RMB for the construction of the 600-square-meter building next to the Baishitang Church, intended to be used as a residence for members of the church and their meeting place. The construction began in 2016 and was finished by May this year. All of the equipment and furniture had already been in place inside the building.
On May 7, 2018, the Shanwei government dispatched about 200 people including the special and public police to the newly constructed building and started the demolition. The authorities claimed that the construction of the building had not been appropriately reported and all the taxes had not been paid.
On the day of the demolition, all local internet access was cut off, and the police took away phones from people who were recording the events demanding that no photos should be given to the media.
The five-story structure was wholly taken down in one day, and the authorities completely cleared away all the debris within two weeks.
A local government insider said that the Chinese Communist Party authorities are especially adamant to crack down on churches that have overseas contacts, blaming them for “joining foreign anti-China forces to undermine national unity.”
Reported by Lin Yijiang
Images provided by the believer who informed Bitter Winter about the destruction of the building:
Lin Yijiang (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), whose ancestral hometown is Hangzhou, Zhejiang, lived in Spain with his family at a young age. His father is a human rights activist. Under his father’s influence, Lin Yijiang also began actively following human rights conditions in countries around the world, especially China’s harsh persecution of human rights. In 2016, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the persecuted groups in China, Lin returned to his hometown and became a freelance journalist, giving a voice to persecuted groups. He joined Bitter Winter in 2018 and became a special correspondent covering Zhejiang Province, Jiangxi Province, and some other regions.