Catholic charity expresses concern over cross removal in China

The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need expressed concern over the reported increase of incidents of persecution of Christians in China.

The concern follows reports that Chinese officials ordered the removal of a cross from a church in Zhejiang province last week.

“This incident fits into a pattern of government aggression … involving the partial or full demolition of churches,” said John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need.

“What’s going on in Zhejiang shows the authorities have no intention whatsoever of giving Christians the freedom they need to practice their faith, something that is a fundamental human right,” said Pontifex.

At least 18 Protestant church crosses have been removed in Zhejiang so far this year.

The Bangkok-based ucanews.com, however, reported that the incident last week was the first time authorities have targeted a much smaller Catholic community.

According to the news agency, more than 1,700 crosses around China have been removed since the end of 2013.

Meanwhile, a Christian pastor and his wife were reported to have been sentenced to 14 years in prison after they led a protest to oppose the removal of a cross from atop their church.

Ten other members of the Protestant church were also imprisoned.

A court in eastern Zhejiang province decided that the couple had illegally prompted churchgoers to petition the government and disturb social order.

“The government’s criminal prosecution against the pastor and his believers is actually religious persecution,” said China Aid, an organization that has been supporting resistance to the cross removals through funding from abroad.

Sources

UCAN
International Business Times
The Tablet
Image: ucanews.com

News category: World.

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