Church Standoff a Study in China's Complexity, by World Watch Monitor, at Christian Today
"'A local government official, who was not authorized to speak by name to the media, said authorities were trying to resolve the impasse peacefully and had never threatened to demolish the structures by force," reported the Washington Post's Xu Yangjingjing. The UK-based Telegraph noted the "days of intense negotiations between Sanjiang church leaders and officials" during the standoff.
"Last week, the two sides reached a deal: the church would remove two levels of a newly built, seven-storey annex. The main church building and its prominent cross would remain. As it turned out, the government removed four floors, not two, angering church members.
"'Both sides gave way on something. It is very common that Chinese officials do not want to be seen incapable by their seniors and they try to avoid making trouble," said a China coordinator for Open Doors International, a global charity that provides aid to Christians who are pressured because of their faith. The coordinator's name is being withheld to prevent government retaliation.
"'We've heard about a number of conflicts between churches and the authorities, and eventually they compromised and saved face to each other," the coordinator said. "'Saving face' in Chinese culture is more important than abiding by the law.'"