The Chinese regime’s persecution of Christianity reached new heights as military police demolished a church in northern China’s Shanxi Province. Explosives were used to bring down the $3 million church, as Chinese Christians who had built and attended it wept.
The Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, a city of 4.3 million, was one of China’s many unregistered “house churches,” meaning they are not sanctioned by the Chinese regime and are therefore constantly persecuted.
Dramatic video uploaded online shows the church was totally demolished on Jan. 9, as explosives were detonated. The People’s Armed Police, the Chinese regime’s paramilitary force, reportedly conducted the demolition.
The church, originally costing 17 million yuan to build in 2009, was fully paid for by its congregation of tens of thousands of Christians. Prior to its destruction, many of the church’s leaders had been heavily persecuted and some were imprisoned, according to reports by ChinaAid, a Christian NGO based in Midland, Texas.
In 2009, squads of the Chinese regime’s security goons descended on the church, smashed the building, and seized bibles from its members, according to ChinaAid.
“[The authorities] have been plotting to bomb the church ever since 2009,” a church member told Radio Free Asia. “They were hesitant at the time after hearing rumors that officials from the U.N. visited the church and took photos. But now they’ve actually done it.”
The church was surrounded by the authorities beginning Sunday, Jan. 7, with its congregation blocked from entering the building and warned by local police to “stay away.” Many members of the church, though, witnessed the demolition from a distance and wept for their church’s destruction.
“The repeated persecution of the Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights,” said Bob Fu, the founder and president of ChinaAid, who called for the international community to openly condemn the bombing of the church.
While the church belongs to China’s large number of “house churches” that are not registered with the Chinese regime and are therefore completely exposed to any sort of crackdown on religion, even the state-sanctioned Three-Self Churches are not exempt from the regime’s persecution.
ChinaAid has recently reported that the regime’s security apparatus was mobilized to suppress Christmas celebrations by Chinese Christians in 2017—including those at the Three-Self Churches. Church services were strictly curtailed, and the Christians who attended them were heavily monitored by surveillance cameras installed by the authorities.
The Chinese Communist Party officially espouses an atheist ideology based on Marxism–Leninism and Mao Zedong thought and prohibits Party members from belonging to a religion. Despite official opposition to religion and relentless persecution, China’s Christian population has soared in recent years and is now numbered in the tens of millions by various estimates.