Henan county tears down Christian church crosses for ‘violating the law’

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/9 22:13:39

Crosses of some Christian parishes in Yichuan county, Central China's Henan Province were torn down because the structures were illegally built, religious regulators said.

"The parishes were illegally built without permission from the government, so we demolished their crosses," an official surnamed Zhang from the Ethnic and Religion Bureau of Yichuan told the Global Times on Monday.

"Activities in the illegally-built parishes will be prohibited," Zhang said. "Other legal Christian activities here will remain open."

China's Regulation on Religious Affairs stipulates that citizens' collective religious activities shall be held in registered religious sites and organized by the site or a religious body. Religious groups above county level must register churches with their local civil affairs bureaus, according to a regulation on the registration of religious groups in China.

The county has torn down "two or three" such crosses so far this year, according to Zhang, but he refused to say when they were torn down. Higher government departments had approved the actions based on regulations, Zhang added.

The Law on Urban and Rural Planning in China states that a local government may order relevant departments to close or demolish a construction if the party involved refuses to comply with previous demolition orders.

Zhang said such actions on unregulated activities are not targeted at Christianity.

In 2014, a parish in Yichuan collapsed during church services, killing two and injuring 19 others.

Foreign media reported that Henan had tightened its supervision over  Christianity. A community in Henan's Anyang city reportedly asked religious residents to register, a notice released on Wednesday and spread online showed.

An anonymous employee at the neighborhood committee of Anyang's Pingyuan community confirmed the notice with the Global Times.

"The higher religious department met with communities and asked us to make the census," said the employee.

She said that registering is not compulsory.


Newspaper headline: Henan tears down Christian church crosses, cites law


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