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World News

Chinese Christians protest campaign to tear down crosses

by Sam Hailes

Many view recent events, which include more than 1,200 crosses being stripped from churches in Zhejiang province, as a coordinated Communist party attack on Christianity.

Twenty Catholic clergy staged a rare public demonstration in Wenzhou on Friday. 89 year old Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang who walks with a cane was among the protestors.

An unnamed source told UCA news that protestors "were moved to see the bishop leading the struggle to retain the symbol of their faith".

Chinese police monitored the two-hour protest but did not break it up.

Zhejiang is home to one of China's largest Christian congregations. There are both government-sanctioned and illegal house churches throughout the country.

Red church crosses once dotted the city's skyline but many of the most prominent been forcibly removed. In some cases, entire churches have been reduced to rubble.

Authorities says they are attacking illegal building practices not religion.

In an open letter earlier this month Catholic officials lamented the removals as "an evil act" that had "caused great resentment and anger among clergy and believers".

Protestant leaders are encouraging their congregations to peacefully oppose the removals by placing their own homemade wooden crosses. They've promised to "make the cross flourish throughout China."

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