CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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Another church demolished

BEIJING (SE): Authorities in China demolished the Golden Lampstand church belonging to an unofficial Protestant community in Linfen, Shanxi province on January 9, UCAN reported. 
 
It is the third church demolition or closure in China in just over three weeks and comes amid a broader crackdown on religions by the government of president, Xi Jinping.
 
A witness told Radio Free Asia that despit efforts by members of the church to halt the demolition, bulldozers reduced the large building to rubble. They were subsequently pressured to remain silent.
 
One person, who requested anonymity told UCAN that a large anti-riot team carried out the demolition.
 
AsiaNews reported that the community tried to obtain government recognition, but was it refused because it would not join the government’s Three Self-Patriotic Movement.
 
The threats against the Church of the Golden Lampstand go back to when it was first built in 2009 when, on September 13 that year, police officers and thugs entered the construction site, beat up community members and destroyed some of the building’s walls, according the AsiaNews.
 
After the incident, the  pastor, Yang Xuan, spent three-and-a-half years in prison while his wife, Yang Caizhen, was sentenced to two years in a forced labour camp.
 
More than 1,500 churches in Zhejinag, both Catholic and Protestant, have been targeted for demolition or cross removals in recent years. Chinese authorities are increasingly using property regulations to carry out the destruction.
 
On 27 December 2017, a Catholic church in Zhifang village in the Lauyu district of Xi’an in neighboring Shaanxi province was pulled down after authorities claimed it was occupying land illegally (Sunday Examiner, January 7). 
 
A Protestant church in northwest China’s Xinjiang region was also shut down around the same time.

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