Chinese police dynamite Christian megachurch

Chinese authorities blow up Christian church

There are an estimated 60 million Christians in China, many of whom worship in independent congregations like the Golden Lampstand.

ChinaAid, a US -based Christian advocacy group, said local authorities planted explosives in an underground worship hall to demolish the building, which was built with almost $3 million in contributions from local worshippers in one of China's poorest regions.

China's military police has been under the direct control of the central government since the head of the public security bureau, which previously commanded it, was arrested a year ago.

According to the state-run Global Times newspaper, the church building was demolished because it lacked the necessary permits and had violated building violations.

Chinese officials in Shanxi province have demolished a large church, sparking fears of a wider crackdown on Christians as the government prepares to implement new regulations on religion.

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The similar demolition of a Catholic church previous year is prompting Christians to worry that the central government will begin ordering the mass destruction of church buildings nationwide as new religious regulations go into effect next month.

Chinese authorities have demolished a well-known Christian megachurch, inflaming long-standing tensions between religious groups and the Communist Party.

Founder of China Aid Bob Fu said that he perceived the government strategy behind pulverizing church buildings is to stop people from constructing more churches in China or it might be preliminary for implementing new religious laws next month.

Christians have protested against church demolitions, with a video captured in Shanxi in August showing a clash between Catholics and government representatives who were using bulldozers to destroy church property.

As the church was being built on September 24, 2009, church members who slept at the construction site were awakened by 400 officials and beaten as the building was razed. Thirty of the members were in critical condition.

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The church's two pastors were arrested in 2009. But before hanging up, the church member quickly told RFA, "I'm under house arrest now".

Yang Rongli, who has been under government surveillance since her release in 2016, described the demolition Tuesday to a China Aid reporter. Patrol wagons guarded the church.

In an earlier crackdown in 2009, squads of the Chinese regime's security goons descended on the church to smash the building and seize bibles from its members, according to ChinaAid.

The church was surrounded by the authorities beginning Sunday, Jan. 7, with its congregation blocked from entering the building and warned by local police to "stay away". "Now, we really have no idea what is going to happen".

"The repeated persecution of the Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights", said Bob Fu, the founder and president of ChinaAid, who called for the worldwide community to openly condemn the bombing of the church.

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