via Billy Hallowell of FaithWire
Chinese officials reportedly demolished a Christian church on Tuesday, detonating bombs to bring down the house of worship.
ChinaAid, an organization that monitors Christian persecution, reported that the Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, China, is “serially persecuted” and noted that the unregistered church was privately paid for by its members for just over $2.6 million.
The organization is speculating that the order to destroy the church came from China’s top officials, seeing as military police have been under the government’s command since last year. Officials placed bombs beneath the structure to bring it down.
And it’s not the first time that the Golden Lampstand Church has attracted negative attention from the government, as ChinaAid reported that some of its leaders have been jailed for up to seven years for simply serving at the house of worship.
Radio Free Asia reported that witnesses said church members had tried to halt the demolition but to no avail — and that “scores of police and local officials” were involved in the destruction and have pressured congregants to remain silent.
The church had reportedly experienced problems since it was built in 2009, with its pastor, Yang Xuan, being imprisoned for three-and-a-half years and his wife, Yang Caizhen, also being beaten and incarcerated for two years in a labor camp.
ChinaAid president Bob Fu said that the persecution faced by Golden Lampstand Church shows that China’s government has “no respect for religious freedom or human rights” and he called on the world to take action.
“ChinaAid calls on the international community to openly condemn the bombing of this church building and urge the Chinese government to fairly compensate the Christians who paid for it and immediately cease these alarming demolitions of churches,” Fu continued.
These moves come as Chinese policy will usher in new regulations next month — laws that will place faith matters more intensely in the hands of authorities. In fact, these laws will largely confine church activity — especially missionary activity — to churches.
This will include bans on collecting funds, renting space or publishing religious material without permission, according to Christianity Today.
As Faithwire previously reported, there’s a slew of concerning activity in China in addition to the aforementioned crackdown that should give Christians across the globe cause for concern. Read more about these issues here.