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Christians in China guard church

11 April 2014

ABOUT 3000 Christians are reported to have formed a human shield at Sanjiang Church in Wenzhou, China (above), after Communist Party officials threatened to demolish it.

Ryan Morgan, the regional manager for East Asia at International Christian Concern, said on Tuesday that members of the congregation had refused to remove the cross on it, as instructed by party officials, who then proposed demolishing the entire building.

He had been told that officials were concerned about the growth of Christianity in the province, Zhejiang, and that, since February, three small churches had been demolished, while others had been asked to take down the cross if it was "too prominent". Sanjiang had become "a focal point in the province for all the Christians facing this crackdown".

The protest began on Thursday, Mr Morgan said, but "several hundred" people remained inside the church, to protect it. "They feel very passionate about defending their church, but the danger is extremeley real. Most people are aware that protesting this type of thing is dangerous."

He expected a compromise to be reached, perhaps involving the removal of the cross, enabling the government to "save face".

He estimates that there are about nine million Christians in the province.

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