CHINA – New rules threaten church property in northern China

UCA News | Nov. 4, 2019

Catholics in China are increasingly worried that church buildings that do not have permits aligned with strict new religious regulations will be deemed illegal and demolished.

More church structures in China are under threat of demolition as the government continuous to tighten and implement the new regulations on religious activities that it launched on Feb. 1, 2018.

On Oct. 31, hundreds of Catholics in Handan Diocese in the northern province of Hebei gathered to safeguard their parish at Wugaozhuang Catholic Church as local authorities turned up at the village at 6am brandishing an order to demolish the building and remove its cross. Parishioners and Catholics from neighboring villages flooded to support the church against land resources, public security and other officials who wanted to proceed with the demolition.

As church members took turns to stand guard and protect the church, police blocked the scene, prohibiting anyone from entering, leaving or giving food to the church members. The confrontation continued until late afternoon when an agreement was reached with government officials, who reportedly promised to allow the church to be relocated to another piece of land.

In addition to a call for fasting and urgent prayers, Catholics also discussed how they could resolve the dispute on the legal status of the church under the new regulations, a priest told ucanews.