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