On April 28, Zhejiang Province officials demolished the massive, state-approved Sanjiang Church in Wenzhou City. Wrecking crews ripped down its facade during the afternoon, and during the night people could still hear loud crashing. By morning, it was little more than piles of rubble topped by a collapsed steeple and cross.
Officials said parts of the building didn’t meet building standards and were illegal. Of course, looking at the Chinese government’s track record, they use laws like building codes arbitrarily to suit their own cause. Officials also had their eye on the land, according to some reports.
Also, we’ve dug up reports that support the case that the officials were just following orders to quell the rising Christian population, Mao-style.
The Telegraph reported: “The Sanjiang church in Wenzhou, a wealthy coastal city in Zhejiang Province with one of China’s largest Christian populations, was reduced to rubble on Monday night after excavators spent the day tearing parts of the building down.
“Congregants accused the provincial government, which is controlled by Xia Baolong, an ally of Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, of promoting an orchestrated anti-church campaign in order to slow Christianity’s rapid growth.
“Officials denied the demolition was an attack on Christianity on Tuesday, and vowed to ‘aggressively push on’ with a campaign against illegal buildings.”
The wave of church destruction and felling of crosses has started in Zhejiang because it has been nicknamed the “Jerusalem of the East” for having the highest Christian population, at around 15 percent of the local population.
The church members accuse the government of an anti-Christian crackdown, claiming there are another 10 churches in the region that are slated for demolition, according to The Telegraph.
Epoch Times noted in it’s report: “The removal of crosses and destruction of churches are authorized under Zhejiang’s “Three Rectifications and One Demolition” development campaign, which frequently references structures designated as “illegal,” a broad and flexible designation used by officials in China.”
Epoch Times also found a broadcast by Phoenix Television from late 2013 discussing the official Party statements on its strategy for the demolition of religious structures in order to develop the land.