Thousands of Chinese Christians have mounted an extraordinary, round-the-clock defence of a church in a city known as the ‘Jerusalem of the East’ after Communist Party officials threatened to bulldoze their place of worship.
In an episode that underlines the fierce and long-standing friction between China’s officially atheist Communist Party and its rapidly growing Christian congregation, Bible-carrying believers this week flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to protect it from the bulldozers.
Their 24-hour guard began earlier this week when a demolition notice was plastered onto the newly-constructed church which worshippers say cost around 30 million yuan (£2.91 million) and almost six years to build.
Officials claimed the church had been built illegally and used red paint to daub the words: “Demolish” and “Illegal construction” onto its towering facade.
The threat triggered a furious reaction in Wenzhou, a booming port city known for its vibrant Christian community, said to be China’s largest.
Hundreds of people, including elderly and in some cases disabled women, have now occupied the church to prevent demolition teams moving in.
“There are bad people out there trying to damage our church so we must defend it,” said Li Jingliu, a 56-year-old former factory worker who has been sleeping in one of its back offices since Wednesday.
Ladies and Gentlemen: This is an example of what it takes to defend freedom against tyranny—the people must be willing to put themselves between evil-hearted men and their wicked goals.
Risk. Sacrifice. Steadfastness. These are the qualities that make freedom and survival possible.
The next time you hear of someone locally who is being persecuted by the FBI, ATFE, IRS, DHS, or any other out-of-control agency or bureaucrat, think about taking a drive and investing time to stand with them against the oppression. It’s time to tell the power-mad demons, “No! This stops right here, right now.”
These Chinese Christians give me great hope for their country’s future.