A Time to Tear Down: The Ongoing Church Cross Removal Campaign

The cross of Zhongxin Church in Ma'anshan, Anhui was removed on April 17, 2020.
The cross of Zhongxin Church in Ma'anshan, Anhui was removed on April 17, 2020. (photo: Screenshot)
By Mark Cui April 21st, 2020

Last week, two crosses atop churches in China’s central Anhui Province were removed by local authorities. 

Officials demolished a cross from a government-approved Three-Self church in Sanhe Town, Feixi County, on April 15, 2020. Two days later, a crane pulled down the cross of Zhongxin Church in Ma’anshan, a prefecture-level city in the eastern part of Anhui. The offices of the local Christian Council & Three-Self Patriotic Movement are located here as well.

The cross removal campaign in the province started in early January, suddenly ended due to the COVID-19 crisis, but resumed in early March. 

On March 8, a cross of the Hongji Church in Huaishang District, Benghu was demolished. Local sources revealed that at least more than ten churches suffered the same fate in January because local authorities regarded the crosses as a safety hazard because they were “too high and too bright”. 

In addition, some new churches were forbidden to install crosses on the top of their church buildings. A church in Fengdong County was built without a cross on the roof. Some registered churches planned to relocate because of the demolition, but authorities refused to grant them land. One of the churches received 400,000 yuan as compensation, but its members became involved in embezzling the funds.

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