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China Christians camp out to save their Church and Cross

April 8, 2014 : Thousands of Chinese Christians have camped themselves in and around a church in the eastern part of China to prevent it from being demolished after several crosses have already been torn down under a provincial campaign to curb the spread of Christianity, local residents and religious leaders said on Friday.
Concerned that Christianity was growing too fast and in an “unsustainable” manner, local officials in the province of Zhejiang began a campaign in February to demolish any church buildings that violated local regulations, according to a government Web site.
But the real targets, local Christians say, are the prominent crosses that many churches use to advertise their presence. Several Christian leaders allege that the provincial Communist Party secretary objected to seeing many large and bright crosses during a recent trip along a major highway, and ordered some to be removed.
Since then, at least six crosses have been taken down in cities including Hangzhou and Zhoushan, according to ChinaAid, a Texas-based Christian advocacy group. Now, another is under threat -- at Sanjiang church in the city of Wenzhou, a large, new building that can hold up to 2,000 people.
Authorities sent the church a notice on April 3 saying the church building was illegal and posed “serious safety risks.” Local residents counter that the building had been cited by the local government as a model project when it was completed last year.
China’s constitution recognizes freedom of religion, but the government limits religious practice to officially-approved places of worship.
“This certainly represents a further escalation against religious freedom in China,” said Bob Fu, founder of ChinaAid


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