The cross of a government-controlled church in a village in Shandong was removed, and the church was covered with greenery for a visit by China’s President.
On June 9-10 this year, the Chinese government hosted in Qingdao city, Shandong Province, the summit of the Council of Heads of State of the “Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” a regional economic, political, and security alliance. During the preparations for President Xi Jinping’s visit to a “model village” in Qingdao during the summit, the local authorities concluded that a government-controlled Protestant Three-Self church in the Chengyang district was too visible.
According to the church’s believers, at noon on May 15, the sub-district neighborhood committee’s director, surnamed Wang, came to the leader of the Three-Self church and ordered him to dismantle the church cross. “There cannot be a cross in the model village,” he said. On May 17, the church leader sought government officials to discuss the matter to preserve the cross, but was threatened instead: “If you don’t dismantle the cross, we will demolish the church!”
On May 20, under the supervision of 30 local government officials, the cross on the top of the church was forcibly removed. The authorities also urgently planted a strip of greenery, one meter in width, to block the church from sight.
Reported by Jiang Tao
Jiang Tao (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), aged 42, is from Henan Province. He previously served as a magazine editor and has long been concerned about vulnerable groups that are being persecuted in China. He has written a variety of commentaries probing human rights issues in China, and his articles have been published in international journals. After leaving his magazine job in 2015, he started visiting and interviewing persecuted religious groups and other vulnerable groups and gathering information about incidents. He joined Bitter Winter in 2018, and since then is dedicated to reporting the persecution incidents in Henan, Shanghai, Anhui, and other regions.