Chinese authorities bulldoze megachurch
Authorities in China are reported to have demolished a 3,000-seater church in Anhui province and detained its pastors.
Human rights organisation China Aid said that the Chinese authorities did not serve any legal papers justifying the demolition of the church in Funan county.
Pastors Geng Yimin and Sun Yongyao were detained on suspicion of "gathering a crowd to disturb social order".
China Aid President Bob Fu said that the demolition had occurred despite the church being registered.
He called it "yet another clear example showing the escalation of religious persecution today by the Chinese Communist regime."
"The total disregard of religious freedom's protection as enshrined in the Communist Party's own Constitution tells the whole world President Xi is determined to continue his war against the peaceful Christian faithful. This campaign will surely fail in the end," he said.
It follows the demolition in July of another large church in Henan province. Bitter Winter reports that the True Jesus Church was also demolished despite being registered.
The website, which reports on persecution in China, said that although the church was registered, the director of the Religious Affairs Bureau who headed up a raid on the church a month earlier told the congregation that because the church was engaging in "illegal fundraising", it was now deemed an "illegal building".
China has typically harassed unregistered 'underground' churches for years, but since President Xi Jinping came to power, church leaders in the country have reported that even registered churches are not escaping the repression.
Bitter Winter recently reported that official Three-Self churches in the Luoyang city area, also in Henan province, were told to replace the Ten Commandments with Xi's quotes.