CHINA REMOVES 4,000 CROSSES FROM CHURCH ROOFTOPS IN PUSH TO LIMIT XTIAN INFLUENCE
Authorities in China’s Zhejiang province are enforcing a ban on crosses topping the region’s more than 4,000 Christian churches’ spires, roofs, and walls.
“Doesn’t the government give us the right to religious freedom? Why are they taking down our symbol without any explanation?” one Christian asked.
“We have violated no law. We do not oppose the government. We have been good, law-abiding citizens,” another said.
Few Christians were willing to give their names to the media, due to fears that the government may retaliate.
Analysts believe that government authorities are under pressure to remove all external symbols of Christianity from the province over a two-month period.
“The authorities have attached great importance to this religious symbol,” Zheng Leguo, a pastor from the province, said when the news of this ban broke in May. “This means no more prominent manifestation of Christianity in the public sphere.”
“The crackdown has alienated the Christians in China, who are otherwise law-abiding citizens,” Yang Fenggang, an expert on China’s religions at Purdue University, said.
“The authorities are especially worried that those with religious beliefs have a strong sense of identity and belonging, which can translate into huge social forces,” Zhao Chu, an independent commentator, said about the cross ban.
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