"Chinese authorities defend their actions, claiming they are cracking down on “illegal constructions” of buildings, both commercial and religious. Christians have a different view, however, and fear the government is underhandedly trying to curb the rapid growth of churches in the region.
"The assistant director for the China Division at Christian Aid Mission, your link to indigenous missions, was in the country visiting ministry leaders when news broke of the anti-cross campaign. That was in the spring, when 64 crosses were removed and demolished. In June the number of destroyed crosses doubled. According to International Christian Concern (ICC), now more than 360 churches have been targeted. Chinese authorities are threatening to demolish entire church buildings if congregants refuse to remove the public displays of their religion.
“'When I was in China, the church leaders I talked to were very nervous about what was happening. They were concerned that the government was not upholding its own constitution regarding religious freedom,” said the Christian Aid worker. “They advised Chinese believers to be cautious and not take part in protests that might make the situation worse. They were praying that the crackdown would not spread to other parts of China.”
"Last week, one congregation made international news when they did decide to take a stand. On July 21, a crowd of some 1,000 Christians formed a human blockade around ShuiTou Salvation Church outside the city of Wenzhou. It was the 32nd night in a row in which the congregation held a vigil to guard their church’s cross.
"Around 3 a.m. local time, 400 police officers attempted to remove the cross by force and beat some of the Christians with iron batons, ICC reported on their Web site. After a one-hour attack, the police retreated, unable to accomplish their purpose..."