In a latest case of religious persecution, Chinese authorities have blown up a Christian megachurch, purposely as a tough stance against religious groups in the region. The Golden Lampstand Church in the city of Linfen in Shaanxi province was blown up with explosives and with the help of excavators.
According to The Independent, ChinaAid, a US-based Christian advocacy group, stated that authorities from the People’s Armed police planted dynamites in an underground worship hall to demolish the building. The church, which held a value of $2.6 million, was built solely from the contributions taken from one of China’s poorest communities.
ChinaAid further stated that the said church had been facing repeated persecution from the authorities. In 2009, police, accompanied by thugs, had raided the church and seized Bibles which eventually ended with the church leaders getting arrested. Those that were arrested were sentenced to more than seven years in prison under the accusation of illegally occupying land and disturbing traffic order.
“A Christian offered his farmland to a local Christian association and they secretly built a church using the cover of building a warehouse,” the Independent quoted a local department official as saying.
ChinaAid circulated pictures which showed the church reduced to rubbles with just the steeple and cross visible from the distance. “The repeated persecution of Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights,” ChinaAid President said in a statement.
The Chinese Communist Party has a longstanding reputation of persecuting religious and minority communities. Similarly, in Tibet, monasteries and religious sites with historic significance were destroyed in familiar fashion, igniting protests which were shut down with force. In Tibet, more than 150 people have self-immolated in a bid to highlight the gravity of China’s iron grip over persecuted communities.