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Another church demolished in Jinan province

Jinan (UCAN): Liangwang Catholic Church was demolished by authorities in Jinan province, China, the second to have suffered from this fate, while a third church is expected to face the wreckers ball soon.
 
Local Catholics prayed at the site and protested the unreasonable behaviour of authorities.
 
Shilihe Catholic Church was demolished earlier this year and sources expect Wangcun Catholic Church to soon be reduced to rubble.
 
All three were in normal use and officially registered with the religious administration, according to a source in Jinan.
 
At noon on July 17, three female parishioners were on duty at the church when more than 40 people forced their way in, searched them, took their mobile phones and made them leave.
 
Another 30 people later arrived to help with the demolition, which went ahead despite the church still containing many items.
 
After the demolition, the parish priest and president complained to authorities but have not received any reply.
 
“The stools, altars and dedication boxes were all pressed into the ruins. The ruins later became a fire and all the items were burned out,” said a parishioner.
 
Parishioners went to the ruins on July 23 to pray for a successful appeal and to protest the demolition.
 
One member believed that demolishing the church and its cross was no different from digging ancestors’ graves in the feudal era.
 
“Can you imagine the pain and sorrow when you watch your ancestral grave being dug and your ancestors’ bones smashed into ash?” he asked.
 
“Is it necessary for the government to do this? Church members just want to have a small area to build a small new church in the vicinity without affecting the development.”
 
After learning of the demolition plan, members had tried to get permission from authorities for it to be rebuilt elsewhere, but the church was destroyed before any agreement was reached.
 
Liangwang Church was built in 1920. During the Cultural Revolution, it was classified as a private house. After lengthy legal procedures, the church was rebuilt in 2006.
 
The church was built on land that was distributed by Liangwang village and had been granted a permit for legal activities. It was demolished because its location in Pian district is slated for development with new buildings and infrastructure.
 
Sources said the district office had promised to give the church compensation and temporary premises in a house but the offer has not materialised.

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