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The walls of Sanjiang Church being pulled down
Photo: ChinaAid

On April 28th, government officials demolished the Sanjiang Church in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, despite a previous agreement that the building would remain largely untouched. While these officials have implied that the state-approved church was demolished because the building was much larger than permitted, many local believers view it as an attack on the growing Christian population.

The congregation, which received permission to build their worship space on 20,000 square feet, instead built a church and annex on 100,000 square feet. In late 2013, the Zhejiang Province Communist Party Secretary, Xia Baolong, toured the city and was reportedly offended by the large cross atop the church. On April 3rd, authorities served a final notice that the church would be demolished after 15 days. However, on April 7th, the church and the local authorities were finally able to reach a compromise. Although most of the building was to be saved, two levels of the seven-storey annex building were to be removed.

Despite the agreement, wrecking crews removed four floors from the annex. From there, the entire building was taken down, leaving only a pile of rubble. Church members were also detained and interrogated. At least five other churches were also torn down or had their crosses removed at the end of April.

Despite the tremendous disappointment members of the Sanjiang congregation must be experiencing at this time, pray that they will continue to meet together for worship -- realizing the importance and power of praising God in all things. May their unwavering commitment to the Lord, and to His command to love their enemies, inspire many others to learn more about Jesus. Ask God to grant wisdom and grace to both the local government officials and the church leaders in the coming weeks and months, so that tensions will lessen, healing can take place, and all remaining churches will be left untouched. May He also work out His higher and greater plans for this congregation and those of the other damaged churches in the community (Romans 8:28).

For more information on China's persecuted church, please visit the China Country Report.

Current Ministry Projects

The Voice of the Martyrs Canada continues to help distribute Bibles to Christians in the country, making it possible for them to have their own printed version of God's Word. Additionally, VOMC works with various mission partners to facilitate a Biblical understanding of persecution and discipleship, while presenting ways to effectively respond and minister within the context of hostility.

Project Funds: Bibles, Equipping the Saints, Underground Church

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
1,397,897,720 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Han Chinese (91.6), Zhuang (1.3), Other (7.1)

Religion (%)
Buddhism (18.3), Christianity (5.2), Islam (1.8), folk religion (21.9), Muslim (2) Hinduism (<0.1), Judaism (<0.1), other (0.7), unaffiliated (51.8)

Leader
President Xi Jinping (2013)

Government type
Communist party-led state

Legal system
Based on civil law system; influenced by Soviet and continental European civil law systems

Sources: CIA World Factbook

Pray for China

Pray that the Gospel will be proclaimed throughout China without government interference so many more names can be added to the Lamb's "Book of Life." May there also be a spirit of unity demonstrated among the country's growing churches, further strengthening existing believers and spurring them on in their ministry service and evangelistic outreach within the country's numerous communities.

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