Chinese Authorities Tear Down Church for Resisting CCP Demands

Two men look at St. Joseph’s Church, also known as Wangfujing Catholic Church, in Beijing on October 22, 2020, the day a secret 2018 agreement between Beijing and the Vatican was renewed for two years. |

Authorities in China’s Hebei province have demolished an underground Catholic church after its leader refused to join an association authorized by the Chinese Communist Party, according to a report.

The underground Catholic Church had gathered under a tent in Youtong Village of Luancheng District in Shijiazhuang City when it was demolished as the head of the church, Dong Baolu, who suffers from hemiplegia, was in the hospital for a check-up last month. , reported Radio Free Asia.

The Chinese communist regime ordered Dong and church members to align themselves with the Catholic Patriotic Association, which they refused to do.

The church is part of Zhengding Diocese and many of its priests have already signed an agreement to join the state-sanctioned church. “I’m the only one left. Do you think they would let me pass? I am the last among more than 100 priests, they will certainly not spare me,” the priest said.

The parishioners did not resist the demolition.

Although the Vatican does not have formal relations with the Chinese Communist Party, it has been involved in negotiations with Beijing since 2014 and signed a provisional agreement with the regime in 2018 on the appointment of bishops which was renewed in 2020.

China and the Vatican have renewed a controversial deal over the appointment of bishops, drawing criticism from rights groups who warn the deal will further hamper religious freedom in the communist country.

In October 2020, the Holy See and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the renewal of the 2018 agreement which was extended for two years and will be renewed this fall.

The deal, details of which have never been released, allows the Chinese government to propose names of new bishops to the Vatican through its state-approved Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, with the pope having veto power. on the decision.

In turn, the Vatican recognizes the legitimacy of bishops previously appointed by the Chinese Communist government and excommunicated by the Church.

When the Communists took power in China in 1949, they expelled Christian missionaries while allowing churches to operate under government control. In 1957, the Chinese government created the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which is not under the authority of the Holy See.

Chinese Christians faced severe persecution during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s under Mao, who viewed religion as “poison”.

Churches are now allowed to operate, but only as long as they register with the government and thus come under its control.

Open Doors USA, which monitors the persecution of Christians in more than 60 countries, estimates that China has more than 97 million Christians, many of whom worship in unregistered or supposedly illegal underground churches.

The five state-sanctioned religious groups in China are the Buddhist Association of China, the Chinese Taoist Association, the Islamic Association of China, the Three-Self Protestant Patriotic Movement, and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

However, even organizations within the five permitted religions are subject to oversight and limitations, Bitter Winter previously reported.

In 2018, the Chinese government banned the sale of Bibles in online bookstores across the country to comply with a “white paper” that dictated respect for “core values ​​of socialism”.

ABC News Australia reported at the time that copies of the Gospels had been removed from online retailers following the publication of a regime document titled “China’s Policies and Practices in Protecting Freedom of Belief religious”.

The white paper states that Chinese religious communities “should adhere to the direction of localizing religion, practice the core values ​​of socialism, develop and extend China’s fine tradition, and actively explore religious thought that accords with national circumstances. from China”.

As Beijing hosted the Winter Olympics earlier this year, many expressed outrage at China’s treatment of minority religious communities. As China was accused of genocide for its detention of Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslims in western China, human rights activists had worried for years about the government’s longstanding crackdown Chinese against unregistered churches and house church movements.

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