In recent months, the authorities’ in Henan have shut down numerous government-controlled Protestant churches. In Nanyang city alone, nearly 20 of them have been closed down.
On August 14, six people including officials from Dengzhou city’s United Front Work Department pried open the gate of Lugang Church and took away Christian hymn books and over 30 Bibles, as well as all of the church’s account statements and the offering money. Afterward, village cadres dispatched people to dismantle the church’s cross. All of the furnishings inside the church, including tables and stools, were removed and confiscated.
On August 26, members of a Three-Self church in Zhanglou township’s Xiaoding village were holding a gathering when a village cadre, accompanied by six local thugs, stormed into the premises and dispersed the believers. The village cadre scolded them, “You’re forbidden from holding gatherings and believing in the Lord. You have to listen to the Party. Anyone who resists will be arrested!”
In the following two days, the village cadre sent people to smash and destroy two crosses, one on either side of the church’s entrance. They then used an iron shovel to remove the Chinese characters meaning “Xiaoding Christian Church” from the top of the church’s doorframe, as well as ceramic tiles on the roof with a cross pattern and the Chinese character meaning “Immanuel.” They destroyed all the furnishings inside the church and locked the church’s gate.
On August 30, eight people, including local government officials from Dengzhou city, broke into a Three-Self church in Wangying village and destroyed paintings and Bible verses posted on the walls of the church. Afterward, the village secretary ordered four sanitation workers to remove all the tables and chairs from the church and sent people to climb onto the roof of the church to break the cross and paint over the words “Christian Church.” In the end, the village secretary forcibly took away the church’s keys.
Some commentators have remarked that the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of religion is no longer being semi-concealed like before; instead, it is becoming increasingly open, and violent, in an apparent disregard to international condemnations.
Reported by Jiang Tao