Bitter Winter has accessed an exclusive video of a forced demolition of a Catholic church in Fujian.
The church was located in Houxue village in the province’s Fuqing city. Nearly 600,000 RMB or 90,000 USD had already been spent on building the church, and its construction was still in progress.
However, in June 2016, dozens of heavily armed police officers tore down the church on the grounds of it being an “illegal construction.” More than 100 church members were present at the site during the demolition, and their cries can be heard in the video.
In the past, the Chinese Communist Party authorities have often used dubious reasons to demolish religious sites. One of the most cited reasons, as seen in this case, is that of a building being an “illegal construction.”
In 2013, the government of Zhejiang launched the “Three Rectifications and One Demolition” campaign, through which it demolished hundreds of churches in the region. This campaign was widely criticized in the international media at the time.
Reported by Lin Yijiang
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.