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Churches Protest as China Continues Cross Crackdown


Chinese officials in Zhejiang province are continuing their campaign of tearing down crosses from churches.

Recently, a group of Catholics wept and prayed outside their church as authorities used a blow torch to cut down their cross.

"They say we have religious freedom. Is this freedom?" one congregation member told The Associated Press. "Have we violated any national laws? We are also good Chinese citizens."

Officials are believed to have a 20-month deadline to remove every cross from the territory's 4,000 churches.

Demolition crews have met resistance as parishioners hold prayer vigils and block the entrances to church grounds.

Even state-approved Christian churches are protesting the campaign.

In a strongly worded letter, Zhu Weifang, an officially appointed bishop, and two dozen other Catholic officials called the campaign unlawful.

"The more [authorities] suppress the call for justice, the more it shows they are faced with severe social crisis, that they have little confidence in their ability to rule, and that they are incompetent in dealing with issues," the letter said.

It urges parishioners to "fight by law of reason to defend our very basic right to our religion."

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