Zhejiang fights rumors on cross removel, church demolitions

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-9-7 0:13:01

Christians, overseas media accused of ‘twisting’ the facts

The government of East China's Zhejiang Province said it is committed to combat rumors on the demolition on what it considers as illegal religious structures, a government-run newspaper said Sunday, after the province-wide demolition campaign triggered widespread concern and discussions.
"Authorities' crackdown on online rumors is just and fair,'" said a commentary on the front page of the Zhejiang Daily on Sunday, referring to the province's anti-rumor which began in July.

It added that punitive measures on all illegal structures, including religious structures, are within the law and open to public scrutiny, which shows respect for "freedom of speech."

Several alleged rumormongers in the cities of Wenzhou and Taizhou in Zhejiang have been punished for spreading false information, provoking trouble and deliberately distorting the facts about the "three revise and one demolition" campaign.

Some Christians were among them, along with "self-righteous" media and overseas websites that deliberately "twisted" the facts, in an attempt to spare illegal religious structures, according to the commentary.

"They have invoked morality and the rule of law for the sake of so-called guarding their faith," it added.

A Protestant surnamed Lin in Wenzhou was detained for five days in July after he allegedly wrote on Sina Weibo about the forced removal of a cross on a local Protestant church, Wenzhou Daily reported.

Lin included some photos in his post showing people, who were said to be Christians, tying themselves to a red cross to prevent the demolition.

The newspaper quoted Lin as saying that part of his post was unverified, and he only wrote it to "vent his disapproval."

The "three revise and one demolition" campaign, aimed at "revising" old neighborhoods, old industrial sites and removing "illegal" structures by 2015, began to attract public attention in 2014 when religious structures, especially churches, were being targeted.

China bans the construction of buildings without the necessary documents and approval from local authorities, and it also requires new buildings to follow the registered information.

More than half of the nearly 4,000 Christian churches in Zhejiang lack a license to operate, including a property ownership certificate, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Zhejiang is drafting a new regulation specifically for religious structures. The draft states crosses for both Catholic and Protestant churches must be attached to the front side of the main building, and also regulates the size of crosses. The ratio of the cross's length and building's height should be no bigger than 1 to 10.

Several Christians reached by the Global Times previously claimed that authorities in several Zhejiang cities have ordered dozens of churches to relocate or demolish their crosses.

"There is no exception in the campaign," said the commentary.

Posted in: Society

blog comments powered by Disqus