China demolishes Christian megachurch

China demolishes Christian megachurch

Authorities in northern China have demolished a Christian megachurch in a move denounced by a religious rights group as “Taliban-style persecution”.

 China’s officially atheist Communist authorities are wary of any organised movements outside their control, including religious ones.

The huge evangelical Jindengtai (“Golden Lampstand”) Church, painted grey and surmounted by turrets and a large red cross, was located in Linfen, Shanxi province.

Its demolition began on Tuesday under “a city-wide campaign to remove illegal buildings”, the Global Times newspaper reported, quoting a local government official who wished to remain anonymous.

“A Christian offered his farmland to a local Christian association and they secretly built a church using the cover of building a warehouse,” the official said.

 The local housing department had stopped construction of the church in 2009 when it was almost complete, he added.

Several members of the Christian group were then jailed, according to the official.

A “multitude of military police were mobilised and engaged (in) the destruction by burying a large amount of explosives under the church,” Bob Fu, president of the US-based religious rights group ChinaAid Association, told AFP Saturday.

Agency report

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