Magazine article The Christian Century

China Destroys Churches in Provincial Onslaught

Magazine article The Christian Century

China Destroys Churches in Provincial Onslaught

Article excerpt

The Chinese government has justified as "protecting religious freedom" a new crackdown on unauthorized religious activity in Wenzhou in Zhejiang province. Reports, confirmed by the government, said hundreds of temples and churches in the southeastern region were destroyed.

"It is clear that China has been carrying out a policy of protecting religious freedom," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told Reuters on December 14. A spokesperson for Wenzhou's propaganda department told the Associated Press the government had destroyed about 450 buildings in the first half of December, but the Hong Kong-based International Center for Human Rights reported that 1,200 buildings have been destroyed with dynamite.

Wenzhou is known for its thriving religious community, which includes several small Christian churches established by Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries. "In rural areas, religious superstition is still very rampant," said a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Office in Wenzhou. …

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