Authorities in Zhejiang Province’s Taizhou city forcibly removed crosses from two churches that belong to the government-controlled Protestant Patriotic Three-Self Movement on an unreasonable pretext.
On July 28, 2015, a group of 20 officials, including the mayor of Xiachen town in Taizhou city’s Jiaojiang district and some personnel from the Religious Affairs Bureau arrived at the Nilizhang Church of Jesus. They were accompanied by local police officers armed with electric batons who cordoned off the church and prohibited believers from approaching it. A crane brought to the site lifted four demolition workers onto the roof to dismantle the cross.
A church member attempted to stop the destruction, but a government official threatened him and said that the cross would be dismantled regardless of his protests. According to eyewitnesses, many believers, powerless and helpless, knelt down in front of the church to pray.
A congregation member explained the reasons for the demolition of the cross: “Government officials believe that the cross, being on the roof, is higher than the national emblem, which is on the wall of the Great Hall of the People. It’s so ridiculous!”
The Nilizhang Church of Jesus was built approximately 80 years ago and can accommodate more than 1,000 believers.
According to sources, on July 28, the cross on Xiaosijia Church of Jesus in Jiaojiang district was also forcibly removed by the government.
Reported by Lin Yijiang
Video (provided by a believer) showing the cross being removed from the Nilizhang Church of Jesus in Taizhou city’s Jiaojiang district.