Date: February 21, 2019
The church, located in Funing, is a Three-Self Patriotic Church founded by the local government. It registered at the Funing County Bureau of Religion in 2007. It has 3,000 attendees and a large multitude of Christians worship at the church every Sunday.
On February 10, authorities sent a crane and multiple demolition workers to the church. According to a video recorded on site, there was a large cross on the top of the church’s four-story building. The national flag was displayed next to it.
A few dozen church attendees were present and watched the whole removal process. Many of them questioned the removal of the cross. Some of them called on more members to pray for the church while others burst into tears.
In addition, a church in Sanmenxia, Henan was verbally notified by government officials that the church leader should sign the “Donation Agreement” document and make an announcement that they are voluntarily to giving the church to the local authorities.
According to local Christians, government officials pressured the church leader to sign the document with the excuse of “the superior’s order” but also warned them not to let any people know it. They warned that ‘the project would not go smoothly’ if he didn’t sign it.
This coercion strategy was previously deployed against an underground church located in Shangqiu, Henan on October 1, 2018. The church was regarded by officials as an illegal and unapproved venue for religious events requiring demolition of the building. In order their venue, the leader of the church ended up signing an agreement with the authorities to donate the building to the village committee. The building was then rented out by the village committee to develop the local economy although it was preserved.
One local Christian commented, “The church in Mangzhongqiao village is not the only one taken by its village committee, and it happened to other villages as well. [The] government doesn’t allow you to believe religion and is able to come up with all kinds of approaches and excuses, such as your construction is unauthorized, you use the land illegally. Their purpose is to shut down churches. What can we do?”
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