A newly-built state-sanctioned Protestant Three-Self Church in Luohe city, Henan, forcibly occupied by authorities and transformed into a center for Communist Party members.
The Caodian Church, located in Wenshi township, Yuanhui district of Luohe was still undergoing the final phases of its construction, when in November 2017, several government officials broke into it. The officials were aware that all the necessary procedures to build the church had been completed, but they still ordered the person in charge to demolish the church immediately because the church did not have an “event venue permit.” To preserve the church, the person in charge reluctantly used an electric pick to remove the church’s cross as a concession, but the government officials didn’t give up and stated that “the church was built with foreign donations.”
The village Party secretary said bluntly, “The state demolishes churches to prevent you from congregating; it must be torn down, so you have no place to meet.” When the church members refused to give in, the village Party secretary deceived them, saying that the government would buy the church for 300 thousand yuan. If they still resisted, the church would be forcibly demolished.
The church has been eventually taken over by the government and turned into “The Hongying Caodian Party Members’ Political Activity Center,” with the Party emblem hanging indoors. The government’s 300,000-yuan promise has yet to be honored.
This particular church was an officially recognized Three-Self church and was rebuilt on the foundations of an old building with the consent of the county’s Religious Affairs Bureau, the Christian Council, and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Their previous church was in bad shape, so the congregation had raised over 400,000 yuan to build a new one.
According to the members of the church, they have never had contacts with any foreign countries. The church’s believers were looking forward to meeting at the rebuilt church on February 15, 2018, but never expected that the Chinese Communist Party would forcibly occupy the church.
Reported by Jiang Tao