We are deeply concerned about the recently forced demolition of Nangang Church in China, which took place on February 20, 2023. Despite the protests and pleas of the church members, the local government decided to demolish the church building, claiming that it was built illegally and failed to reach a compensation plan.
Background and Context
Nangang Church is a Protestant church located in the city of Xiamen, Fujian Province, China. The church was established in 1992 and had been growing steadily, with a membership of over 500 people. However, in 2019, the government issued a notice that the church building was deemed to be an illegal structure and ordered its demolition. The church leaders then tried to negotiate with the government for a compensation plan, but their efforts failed, as the government refused to offer a fair price for the property and demanded that the church relocates to a remote area.
The Forced Demolition
On the morning of February 20, 2023, hundreds of police officers and demolition workers arrived at Nangang Church and forcibly removed the church members who were guarding the entrance. They then used heavy machinery to demolish the church building, while the members could only watch in tears and despair. The police also arrested some of the members who tried to resist or document the demolition and confiscated their cameras and phones.
Violations of Religious Freedom and Human Rights
We believe that the forced demolition of the Nangang Church is a clear violation of religious freedom and human rights, as guaranteed by international law and China’s own constitution. The church members have the right to practice their faith and gather together in a peaceful manner, and the government should respect and protect these rights, rather than suppress them. The government’s claim that the church was built illegally is also questionable, as many other buildings in the area have similar structures and have not been targeted for demolition. The compensation plan offered by the government was also inadequate, as it did not reflect the real value of the church property and did not provide a viable alternative location for the church.
International Reaction and Support
We call on the international community to condemn this act of injustice and to support the church members in their struggle for justice and freedom. We urge the Chinese government to reconsider its policy towards religious minorities and to respect their rights and dignity. We also express our solidarity with the church members of Nangang Church and all other churches and communities who face similar challenges and persecution. We believe that the power of faith and love will ultimately overcome the forces of oppression and fear.
In conclusion, we hope that our article sheds light on the unfortunate and unjust demolition of Nangang Church in China. We believe that the story of the church members’ struggle and faith should be heard and remembered, and that their plight should inspire us to stand up for justice and freedom, wherever they are threatened or denied. We also hope that our article will help to raise awareness and support for the cause of religious freedom and human rights in China and beyond.