ANHUI – According to China Aid authorities have destroyed a church in China and detained its pastors.
No legal papers ordering the church’s demolition were provided, but officials tore it down on Friday October 18. It could seat more than 3,000 people and was part of the country’s officially-recognized church network.
The large building – which resembled many large church buildings in the United States and was topped with a spire and cross – was located in the province of Anhui, in the eastern part of the country and has about 60 million residents.
It was mid-worship service when the destruction took place.
Officials detained the church’s pastors, Geng Yimin and Sun Yongyao, on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.”
China Aid’s Brynne Lawrence gives an update on the situation (audio only for security reasons).
“When the demolition was taking place, the people were all attending church services. This was a legal church within China. Just all of a sudden the authorities come in and decide to demolish the church.
We have the example of Golden Lampstand Church, which was another huge congregation that was demolished. In the last year we’ve seen increased church demolitions happening in places like Henan Province where the authorities are just really, really clamping down on churches and we’ve seen increased demolitions of churches across the board.”
ChinaAid is an international non-profit Christian human rights organization committed to promoting religious freedom and the rule of law in China; with the belief that religious freedom is the first freedom, which lays the foundation for all other basic human rights. By exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused, and spiritually and legally equipping the leaders to defend their faith and freedom, ChinaAid strives to promote religious freedom for all.
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- Global News Alliance, Authorities Demolish Megachurch in China During Worship Service
- China Aid, Official Website