The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) shut down 48 state-run Christian Churches in a single county in southeastern China between April 18 and 30, Bitter Winter, a Human Rights magazine, reported on Sunday.
In China, the CCP bans all religions except for five: Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, and “Christianity” (known as the Three-Self Church). In Yugan County, located in Jiangxi province, over ten percent of the county’s one million residents are Protestant Christians who attend over 300 officially registered Three-Self churches. Due to the relatively high number of Christians in Yunan, the CCP targets the county for religious persecution. The oppression of Christian organizations has grown worse during the coronavirus pandemic. With houses of worship left empty due to bans on large gatherings, authorities take advantage of the situation to close and, in some cases, demolish churches, with a notable church teardown occurring on Easter Sunday this year in Henan Province.
In April, authorities ordered “countless” Christian churches in Jiangxi province to remove their crosses. A large number of churches, at least 48, were not just asked to remove religious symbols but were fully shut down; some were even “demolished” according to the report.
According to Bitter Winter, in late April in the town of Shegeng, the local government ordered a Three-Self church to be forcibly emptied of its religious materials. One the church’s congregation members told the magazine that “government personnel, led by the town mayor, stormed into the church, removed its podium, cross, and all other religious symbols.”
In mid-April in Yangbu, the town’s government tore down the main cross of a Three-Self church. A local parishioner told Bitter Winter that Yangbu’s government “plans to convert the 300-square-meter church into an elderly activity center.” On April 21 in the township of Daxi, a village Communist Party secretary told local Christians that it was Chinese state policy to “shut down churches and demolish crosses,” according to the report.
In September 2019, Breitbart News reported that the CCP had pressured Christian churches in Henan province to replace the Ten Commandments with quotes by Communist Party leader Xi Jinping.