China’s Communist Party continues to harass Christian churches within its borders, but those congregations are starting to rise up.
In what has become an all too familiar scene in China, another church has found itself on the defensive after being accused of violating one of the nation’s laws in regards to religion. Although the Communist Party in China has hushed the media’s coverage of the event, it is a secret to nobody that they have actively closed dozens of Christian churches throughout the country. That is why a church in the Wenzhou area has recently started a vigil to watch over the church at all times of the day in hopes that it will deter the demolition attempts.
The Communist Party’s Anti-Christian Precedent
The Communist Chinese government started closing and demolishing Christian churches over the last summer. While officials within the government have come up with a wide variety of reasons for the closures, such as “illegal structures,” the intent is very clear: religion that is not state-approved is going to be targeted. This defense of what is obviously a means to crack down on the increasingly prevalent religion has stirred many people to anger and frustration with the government. Their apparent response has been to establish a new, state-approved version of the religion which will be unveiled at a later time.
The Jerusalem Of China
The church in Wenzhou is one of the most popular and beloved churches in the region and has often been called the “Jerusalem of China” for its ability to draw churchgoers. It attracted people from miles around who come to the services and to see the large cross which adorns the outside of the church. This symbol of peace and faith is what has caught the attention of the Chinese government, who insisted that the cross is a structural hazard and tore it down in July. This did not come without several physical confrontations between the church faithful and the police, who used brute force in their initial efforts.
A Dark Horizon
It appears as though the Communist Party and their officials are not done with the Wenzhou church, as they have renewed efforts to remove the cross completely or demolish the church. Even now, churchgoers have taken turns barricading themselves inside of the building behind a fence in order to form a barrier between riot police and their beloved church. Chen Zi’hai, one of the leading members of the church warned that “Those who play with fire will get burned.” Sadly, the tensions between the police and churchgoers have given way to violence as video footage has revealed police beating the citizens.