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World News

China tears down church cross, ending month long congregation protest

Footage has emerged of Chinese officials taking down the cross at Ya Village Church in Huzhou city using a crane.

Authorities had said they were removing the cross from the steeple last month forcing the congregation to refuse to leave the building because they said it was unfair.

Chinese police said it had to come down because of health and safety.

China officially guarantees freedom of religion but in recent months the state has been accused of increasing its persecution of Christians, especially those who do not belong to a state sponsored church.

Pictured above is another church where a cross was removed last year.

Reuters said up to 22 members of the church staged a roof-top protest for a month to guard the cross but relatives dragged them away last night fearing violence from the police.

Protester Pan Yingjue told Reuters: "If the premises of your home are casually dismantled and moved, how would you feel?" said a weeping Pan. "The cross was up there all this while and did not affect them at all. Why did they have to touch it?"

It is reported the cross will now be placed on an inside wall.

"The police did not dismantle the cross but are moving it from the roof to the exterior wall," and unnamed official told the news wire.

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