Slices | April 7, 2014
Hundreds of Christians in the Chinese city of Wenzhou—which is known as “the Jerusalem of the East” for its large religious population—are mounting a round-the-clock human shield at a church to protect it from being bulldozed by Communist government officials. In red paint, the government, which is officially atheist, wrote the words “Illegal construction" and “demolish” on the outside of the new $4.8 million church last week. Since then, droves of Christians have stationed themselves at the church and are refusing to move. According to The Telegraph:
By day, Christians from around the province crowd the church's steps, with undercover security agents mingling among them, snapping photos and eavesdropping. By night, hundreds of worshippers take it in turns to keep watch, grabbing a few hours of sleep on cramped wooden pews between shifts.
Though the Chinese government has long taken issue with underground Christian communities that refuse to comply with state rules, the church in Wenzhou is actually a part of the officially sanctioned Protestant denomination. A local government representative told a Telegraph reporter that the multi-million dollar structure—which took six years to build—was “structurally unsound”. According to the paper though, the massive and influential Christian church has drawn the ire of local Communist officials. In the province of Zhejiang (which has seven million residents) where Wenzhou is located, nearly 15% of the population is church-going Christians ... Discuss