WENZHOU, China — Forcible removal of church crosses is resuming in an apparent government plan to eradicate Christian symbols in China.
The human rights group ChinaAid reports that an Aug. 3 notice to Dongqiao Church in Zhejiang province states that its cross will be forcibly dismantled.
ChinaAid received communication anonymously from a pastor who said governments of Shanxi town, Yongjia County and Lucheng District issued a July mandate that churches remove Christian words from their premises. “For instance, bronze plaques and characters on church walls bearing the words ‘Emmanuel,’ ‘Jesus,’ ‘Christ’ and ‘Jehovah’ were all required to be removed,” states ChinaAid.
Zhejiang — a highly-populated province — has been the prime target of Xi Jinping, China’s president and leader of the Chinese Communist Party.
“Between 2014 and 2016, there were more than 1,500 churches affected by cross demolitions,” states ChinaAid.
A document at the time revealed that “officials wanted to eradicate Christian symbols to the greatest extent possible,” says ChinaAid. The campaign spread to other provinces. The 2018 effort in Henan province removed crosses, burned Bibles and destroyed Christian plaques in private homes.
China is No. 16 on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.