Even places of worship under CCP’s control are deemed ideological enemies and also face brutal suppressions: closed down, forced to merge, even destroyed.
by An Xin
On the afternoon of September 9, a vehicle loaded with church belongings was parked outside a Three-Self church in Liangcuo village. Administered by Fuzhou, the capital of the southeastern province of Fujian, the village was about to lose two state-approved churches. A believer was standing by one of them, shedding tears and lamenting that a well-functioning church was going to be demolished.
The following afternoon, an excavator was brought to demolish the church that was built in 2008. After the outside walls were knocked down, the roof crumpled, and the cross atop the church fell. The whole building soon collapsed, dust filling the air, and pieces of debris flying around. In the blink of an eye, the church was razed to the ground.
A nearby church, built in 2000, was also destroyed the same day.
The newer church was built by state-run Chengmen Christian Church in Fuzhou on the land that had been purchased with the money collected by the congregation. According to an informed believer, the local government initially tried to take over the land under the pretext that a road was to be built there, but believers refused to give in. To achieve what they had planned, the authorities ordered to demolish the church on the grounds that it was “unlicensed and illegally constructed.”
Video: Two Three-Self churches are being demolished in Liangcuo village.
To curb the growth of Christianity in the area and reduce the number of state-run churches, Chengmen town government ordered the church in October to reduce its 20 meeting venues by half through merging them. The church was to make sure that the number of congregants at each venue is kept under 50.
The closures of churches and meeting venues have made believers feel anxious since no one can guarantee that they will not be demolished even after they are merged.
Three-Self churches in other areas of Fuzhou have also been suppressed. On September 25, the local government forcibly demolished a meeting venue in Gaohu village, established by state-controlled Puxia Church, claiming that it was needed for the construction of a canal. The venue was approved by the municipal Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau before it was built in 2002.
“It all happened in five days – from the moment the notice was issued to the forced demolition,” a co-worker of the Gaohu meeting venue said with anger. “It was so abrupt. The CCP fears the rapid development of Christianity, and it’s closing down as many churches as possible.”
Video: The meeting venue in Gaohu village is being demolished.