News / Asia

Chinese Police, Christian Protesters Clash

FILE - Churches in China's Zhejiang province have gotten government notices ordering their destruction or the removal of crosses.
FILE - Churches in China's Zhejiang province have gotten government notices ordering their destruction or the removal of crosses.
Reuters

Police in eastern China clashed in the middle of the night with Christian protesters massed around their church on Monday, but failed to carry out a government order to remove a cross from the building, according to witnesses and online accounts.

Several people were injured in the two-hour melee.

Dozens of churches in the wealthy province of Zhejiang have received government notices in the past few weeks demanding the demolition of church buildings or removal of crosses in what the government says is a campaign aimed at illegal structures, the U.S.-based Christian group ChinaAid says.

Rights groups and Christians say it amounts to religious persecution, which ignores the protection of religious freedom in China's constitution.

In the latest move, police tried to remove a cross from a church in Pingyang county close to Wenzhou city. But the congregation surrounded the church and prevented police from getting close, two witnesses said.

“We did not want them to get close, so we joined up to stop them getting in, but they came at us and beat us,” one of the protesters, who gave his family name as Zhang, told Reuters by telephone, putting the number of police at about 500.

Zhang said police had been unable to remove the cross, but had locked down the site.

Another witness, who asked not to be identified, said the clashes had started at 2:00 a.m. and went on for two hours. She knew of at least five people who needed hospital treatment.

“We are Christians and are not looking for trouble, and if the government comes to us with reasonable requests, we will not oppose it. But using force on us at 2:00 a.m. is unacceptable and we cannot understand why they are doing it,” she added.

Protesters bloodied

Pictures on the Twitter-like microblogging site Weibo and mobile messaging app WeChat showed protesters fighting with police. Several people had bloodied faces.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the veracity of the pictures. Many were swiftly removed by government censors.

An official who answered the telephone at the Pingyang government said he did “not understand the situation” and declined further comment. Reuters was unable to reach Pingyang police.

Zhejiang, a coastal city south of Shanghai, has long been known as a hub of private enterprise.

China has about 65 million Christians, split between those who worship at state-sanctioned churches and those who belong to underground churches. Rights groups frequently accuse China of not respecting freedom of religion, charges Beijing denies.

About 90,000 “mass incidents” – a euphemism for protests – occur each year in China, triggered by corruption, pollution, illegal land grabs and other grievances. 

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid