2000 Crosses Removed in Effort to Stamp Out Christianity, But The Location May Surprise You
As President Obama’s administration focuses on dictating to Christian businesses and forcing nuns to pay for abortions, Christians in China are going to prison and risking their lives protecting the symbol of their faith.
The government of China has launched a campaign to “regulate” what it calls, “excessive religious sites,” including Christian churches that have been allowed in the past, with draconian measures that have seen over 2,000 crosses removed, entire churches bulldozed and clergy imprisoned.
China’s 60 million Christians represent approximately 3 percent of China’s predominantly atheist population of 1.4 billion, but an exact count is difficult to obtain given the crackdown on Christians by the communist government in the past two years.
Bao Guohua, a pastor who had the required approval for his congregation, was sentenced to fourteen years in prison after being placed in secret detention following his attempt to block the destruction of a cross in his church.
His wife was sentenced to twelve years, and the couple was fined over $200,000.
At least ten members of the congregation were also imprisoned.
The government actions began under the pretense of enforcing zoning restrictions on building height and size, leading to the destruction of churches with steeples, and then expanded to apply to crosses atop church buildings.
The government policy has been applied with equal force to both Catholic and Protestant churches, triggering desperate attempts to protect churches and crosses from destruction with one congregation piling rocks in front of its church to save it.
A Christian attorney from Beijing detained since August for defending pastors, was shown in a coerced televised “confession” promising to “strictly abide by the national law,” although he has not been officially charged by police or prosecutors.
This may be only the beginning of a campaign of persecution under President Xi Jinping who has sought to limit civil liberties since taking office in 2012, but small crosses are now seen hanging in windows of homes and from car mirrors as believers defiantly continue to display their belief in the face of increasing persecution.