Christians in China are protesting the government's demolition of church buildings and crosses as "illegal constructions."
Pastors and church members from across Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province recently wrote a letter to the government, asking them to stop the destruction of the religious buildings.
The letter outlined eight reasons why destroying the churches and crosses are illegal, including allegations that "removal of the cross is not an administrative penalty, but the illegal administrative act," prior written notice is not given before cross removals, and that the persons doing the demolitions are not legal construction workers. They said that the destruction is done at night, with no notice, and without any court orders or other documentation.
The Christians pleas were ignored by the government, however, and less than a week later a cross was removed from Yahui Church in Pingyang County, Wenzhou City. International Christian Concern (ICC) also reported that the vandals threatened to harm the church members if they reported the removal to Beijing or the media.
ICC said that over 360 churches have been targeted in similar ways, but the government maintains that they are clearing illegal structures for urban development projects.
Allegedly, 15 churches in Pinyang County alone are scheduled to be demolished before the end of June. One churchmember said the government is out of control.
"The campaign has been unbridled and the government demolishes church crosses recklessly," they told ICC.
Another churchmember decried the blatant persecution of Chinese Christians.
"The government is causing deep panic among its citizens. What good do they gain from it?" they asked.
"Their behaviors are nearly barbarian on many occasions," another added.
A video obtained by ICC shows the cross being removed from the steeple of Yahui Church, with police officers lined up outside. The church members prayed and wept together, and sang the hymn, "In the Cross."