THE CHINESE government has been filmed ripping down a huge crucifix from an iconic Catholic Church in the latest act of extreme aggression against Christianity.
The shocking footage, shared on Twitter by one of the priests witnessing the act, shows the moment when local Communist Party chiefs use a crane to remove the last cross standing on top of the Shangqiu Catholic Church South Cathedral in the country’s Henan Province.
An unidentified group are said to have burst into the church without any official documentation or notice and occupied it by securing the doors and shutting down electrical power.
Priest and nuns reported the intruders to the police in vain, as the authorities once arrived confiscated their phone and quarantined them, barring anyone from entering or leaving the church.
The removal of the crosses lasted about five hours amid protests of church staff and volunteers.
The alleged intention of local authorities was to “occupy” the church, but as they failed to do so they went on to stripping the crosses from the building.
International Christian Concern’s Regional Manager Gina Goh said: “As President Xi Jiping moves to become China’s leader for life, religious liberty continues to erode.
“The crackdown on churches used to be targeted mostly at underground communities, but we are now seeing increasing assaults and harassment on state-sanctioned churches as well.
“Please pray for the Church in China to persevere despite growing persecution.”
— 劉貽牧師 (@Frfrancisliu) March 9, 2018
Shangqiu Catholic Church South Cathedral, built by Spanish Augustinian missionary Francis-Xavier Ochoa OESA in 1924, has been accredited as a “Major Historical and Cultural Site” and, in theory, became a “protected” building in 2002.
The news comes after the Christian mission group Open Doors revealed China has sent more than 100 Christians to so-called “re-education” camps in the past year.
These “mind-transformation centres” instruct detainees to be loyal to China, not their religion, with worried family members reporting poor conditions.