In the early morning hours of June 9, 2015, the crosses of two Three-Self churches – Huyuan Church and Yaokou Church – were secretly demolished by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government. Both churches are located in Huyuan Township, Chang’an town, Fuyang District of Hangzhou city in Zhejiang Province.
After 82-year-old Elder Xu of the Huyuan Church learned of the CCP government’s intention to take down the crosses, she arranged other members of the congregation to keep watch over it in the church. On the night of June 8, 2015, Elder Xu and four other co-workers stayed in the church.
Around 3 a.m. on June 9, Elder Xu heard a fierce knocking on the door, and when she opened it, four or five people charged in – two of them viciously pushed her to the door, restraining her, and the others blocked the entrance. They then confined the other four Christians so that they could not move. Elder Xu asked them who they were, and one answered, “We’re from the Huyuan Township government. The notification came from above to take down your church’s cross.” After less than half an hour, the cross had been demolished and taken away by the authorities. Elder Xu remembers seeing more than ten cars outside the church, including police cars and an ambulance with medical personnel.
Two weeks before the cross was taken down, two officers from Chang’an Town police station came to the church and looked around everywhere with an excuse of “paying a visit to Elder Xu and being concerned for the church.”
The cross of Yaokou Church was demolished around 4 a.m. on June 9. An informed source revealed that at night, the church administrator, Xiaoling, was sleeping in the church when she heard noises. She wanted to go outside to investigate and discovered that the church door had been locked from the outside; she was unable to get out to stop the authorities from taking down the cross.
The crackdown on religious beliefs in China has affected even the Three-Self Churches that belong to the State-approved united Protestant church, communities of which are being occasionally harassed and persecuted by the government.