Crosses Removed from Churches by China
SHANGHAI: China’s crusade to remove crosses from churches ‘for safety concerns' stripped more than 1,200 crosses from the church roofs.
Chinese churches is being conducted “for the sake of safety and beauty”, a government official has claimed.
Human rights activists accuse authorities in Zhejiang province in eastern China of using the protracted campaign to slow Christianity’s growth in what is one of the country’s most churchgoing regions.
By some estimates, China is nowhome to 100 million Christians, compared with the Communist party’s 88 million members.
Since the government campaign began in late 2013, hundreds of places of worship have had bright red crosses removed. Some churches have been completely demolished, while civil servants have been banned from practising religion.
Some observers suspect the campaign has the backing of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and could be a “pilot project” before a nationwide crackdown.
However, an official from Zhejiang’s ethnic and religious affairs bureau told the state-run Global Times newspaper the government had “merely relocated the crosses out of safety concerns”. “Generally speaking, the church staff and people are very supportive [of the removals],” the official added.
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