The authorities tore down a state-controlled church in Chenji town two years ago and have not permitted its reconstruction so far.
In May 2016, a church that belongs to the government-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement was under construction in Henan’s Chenji town. The villagers had spent over 74,000 USD to purchase the land as well as building materials.
However, the authorities would not allow for the construction to go on unhindered. First, workers from the town’s Bureau of Land Management arrived at the site one day and declared that the building’s permit hadn’t been issued yet. They also destroyed one corner of the walls that had been built. The landowner halted the construction immediately.
A few days later, the construction resumed, but again, officials showed up. This time, the director of the Land and Resources Bureau of Yongcheng city as well as around 50 officials from the town’s land management office arrived at the site. They also brought along an excavator, with the intention to demolish the church.
The police officers formed a human barricade to block the believers and also threatened them against taking any photos or filming videos of the scene. Behind the barricade, the excavator completely tore down the single floor that had been constructed so far (video).
A Christian at the scene lamented, “churches are being demolished all over the country now. Will they ever let us build again?”
In the past two years, the landowner has repeatedly tried to rebuild the church and gain the necessary permissions. However, with no hope for success, he has given up now. In August 2018, the person in charge of the church reluctantly decided to reconvert the land to agricultural use.
Reported by Jiang Tao