The Telegraph, out of the U.K., reported today that Chinese authorities have descended on Sanjiang Church in China's coastal Zhejiang province with demolition equipment and have begun tearing down the building.
China Aid confirms that demolition has occurred at Sanjiang Church, beginning at about 8 a.m. and ending approximately 12-1/2 hours later. In addition to the complete demolition of the church's accessory building, parts of which the church had agreed to demolish, the government damaged the building's foundation, causing severe damage to the church's main building.
During the demolition, the large cross on the steeple of the church, which has stood as a symbol of resistance against the government's latest anti-Christian campaign, fell.
Thousands of government workers, including paramilitary officers and armed soldiers, participated in the demolition.
"This government-orchestrated barbaric destruction of a major church is a clear sign of a new wave of escalated religious persecution in China," Bob Fu, president and founder of China Aid, said. "The Zhejiang government's actions against this peaceful church and thousands of believers deserve a unanimous response and condemnation from the international community."
"By breaking its previous promises to not engage in the forced demolition of the church, the Zhejiang authorities show their brutal contempt for both China's own Constitution and the will of millions of Chinese Christians and citizens who want nothing but their guaranteed religious freedom."
"The deliberate wounds will take years to heal, and the little remaining trust between the Chinese government and the Chinese religious communities are gone because of today's events," Fu said.
The demolition of Sanjiang Church came despite an agreement reached between the two parties on April 7, which stated the church would allow two stories of the accessory building to be demolished (see www.chinaaid.org/2014/04/one-tspm-church-in-zhejiang-finds.html and www.chinaaid.org/2014/04/sanjiang-church-in-zhejiang-facing.html).
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