On the morning of April 16, the Changcun town government in Changyuan County, in Henan Province’s Xinxiang city demolished a Protestant church in Beixinxing village claiming that the church building was illegal.
A dozen or so armed regular and auxiliary policemen, as well as government workers, laid the church to waste using excavators and front loaders. Members of the congregation, on the site under the police’s supervision, were aggrieved to see the church where they used to pray and have meetings turn into ruins. They wanted to take away the remaining bricks of the church after the demolition, but the government workers ordered the drivers to shovel the bricks into big pits warning the people not to attend the religious meetings and threatening to arrest those who disobey.
An employee of the Religious Affairs Bureau in the city of Gongyi revealed that since the new Regulations on Religious Affairs came into force, governments at all levels have strengthened their persecution of religious beliefs. “Henan is a province with a large Christian population, so it naturally becomes the main target of the crackdown and persecution,” he said. “The central government has specially dispatched working groups to Henan to supervise the work here, demolishing churches and crosses on a large scale. In fact, crosses are being forcibly removed in Henan since March this year. Even crosses of Three-Self churches were not spared. The Chinese Communist Party continues to destroy churches and crosses.”