At 3 a.m. (Beijing time) on Monday, during the 32nd night vigil of Christians guarding their church cross, around 400 police officers attempted to forcibly remove the church cross of ShuiTou Salvation Church in Pingyang, Wenzhou City.
Police beat Christians with iron batons, severely injuring at least four. Bloody pictures and videos of riots from the incident are circulating on China’s social network. Local Christians reported that 1,000 Christians formed a human blockade and guarded the church, and that even though the police retreated after a one-hour attack, the Christians remain ready for continuous attacks from the government.
Continuous Cross Demolition and Harassment
The ongoing anti-church campaign in Zhejiang Province has seen over 360 churches completely or partially demolished under the guise of “removing or modifying illegal constructions.” In a news release International Christian Concern (ICC) reported, and later The New York Times corroborated, that religious buildings have been targeted at the exclusion of all others.
Since 9 p.m. on Sunday, police started to harass churches close to ShuiTou Salvation Church in Pingyang County, Wenzhou City. At 3 a.m. the next day, the police suddenly concentrated its force to attack ShuiTou Salvation Church itself. A local contact told ICC that while it was unclear how many Christians were injured, at least four were severely injured, two of whom were transferred to the First Provincial Wenzhou Hospital of Zhejiang.
“We will continue to guard our church cross to the end,” a local co-worker of Pingyang County.”We divide people into two groups and take turns to guard the church through the night.”
ICC heard from local Christians that local government officials are even “competing” to be the champion of removing church crosses, for the purpose of bolstering their own political careers.”
Guarding the church cross that is not against any law, Christians are publicly harassed by government officials,” said a local Christian.
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