Published On: Wed, Apr 30th, 2014

Sanjiang Church demolition begins as protesters couldn’t protect church from government

Pictures are emerging on Twitter of bulldozers tearing down a Chinese mega church following weeks of protests and demonstrations by members of the congregation. The Sanjiang Church in Wenzhou, China has been embroiled in controversy for weeks.

Twitter photo of Sanjiang church being demolished

Twitter photo of Sanjiang church being demolished

Wenzhou, known as “China’s Jerusalem”, is where the country’s largest Christian community resides. Earlier this month, thousands of Chinese Christians flocked to the church and stationed themselves in and outside of it when Party officials threatened to tear it down in what’s believed to be a campaign to curb the spread of Christianity.

Christianity Today notes that reports as to why Sanjiang Church in Wenzhou, China, was demolished are conflicting. While congregants accuse the government of launching an attack on Christian places of worship, others indicate the building was illegally erected.

The battle reportedly began over the removal of a cross and the protest ended after a couple of weeks. Officials not return and the protest appears to have failed.

twitter photo of Sanjiang church  heap in China

twitter photo of Sanjiang church heap in China

Last week, Brent Fuller, president of China Source, a Hong Kong-Based nonprofit that collaborates with China-oriented churches, said that the congregation had built the church far larger than they had permission to build.

Initial negotiations led to an agreement that the church would remove two levels of the annex, but The Telegraph reports that the entire building has been “reduced to rubble.”

Officials are now battling over who’s to blame over the church’s construction in the first place, as well as the delayed demolition.

According to Christianity Today, the right to freedom of religious belief is guaranteed under Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution, that protection is limited to those who worship within state-sanctioned religious bodies. Those who choose to practice their faith outside of these, or whose beliefs are not officially recognized by the Chinese Government, are at risk of being accused of participating in illegal activities, which carries heavy punishment.

According to pictures and posts relayed from the site today, it appears that this is the case, although it’s unclear how much of the structure is actually being bulldozed.

[Image via @TomPhillipsin]

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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