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China Aid
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WATCH: Bomb destroys Chinese megachurch

by Tola Mbakwe

According to religious freedom charity China Aid, police demolished Golden Lampstand Church on Tuesday.

Authorities placed the bombs in underground worship halls beneath the church and proceeded to destroy its above-ground building.

The charity said this is not the first time the church has faced persecution. Some of Golden Lampstand Church's leaders have been imprisoned for one to seven years, simply for serving at their church.

Also, when the church was being built in September 2009, church members who slept at the construction site were beaten by officials.

China has been targeting unregistered churches such as Golden Lampstand. Churches that refuse to register do so in order to opt out of government monitoring.

Yang Rongli, who was arrested in 2011 for being a part of the church said she saw the demolition.

She told a ChinaAid reporter: "The police surrounded the Golden Lampstand Church. Patrol wagons guarded the church. Workers smashed the church's glass.

"At this point, excavators are digging into the church, but we are not allowed to enter or watch.

"The village head and the police from the local police station warned all the believers against entering the church. Now, we really have no idea what is going to happen."

ChinaAid President and Founder Bob Fu has urged the government to stop demolishing churches and to compensate the Christians who paid for the building.

He said: "The repeated persecution of Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights."

The charity explained that a similar demolition of a Catholic church last year has made Christians worry that "the central government will begin ordering the mass destruction of church buildings nationwide as new religious regulations go into effect next month".

The new regulations give the Chinese Communist Party more power over religion.

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