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State-approved Catholic church to be demolished in Xinjiang

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02/20/2021 China (International Christian Concern) Although it is a state-sanctioned Catholic church and receives praise from local authorities, the Sacred Heart Church in Xinjiang Yining is to be demolished.

The church, built in 2000, received all necessary permits and local officials attended its dedication ceremony. In February 2018, the authorities have already forcibly removed its crosses, as well as four bas-reliefs that adorned the facade, the two statues of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul on the sides of the building, and its two domes and bell towers. ; now he’s asking the church to clean it up on February 19th.

According to Asia News, while authorities have not disclosed the reason for the demolition, most suspect the church is being destroyed to use the land and build a commercial area in its place. Indeed, the church stands along the road that leads to the airport and in the town plans, this road will become more and more important.

Another excuse for the demolition is that the church was too showy. As part of President Xi Jinpings’ sinicization campaign, religious places that have foreign elements easily become targets and suffer from forced removal of religious symbols or complete demolition. Although the Church of the Sacred Heart has already undergone a makeover in 2018, based on the standard of local authorities, it is apparently still too visible.

Local Catholics believe that religious affairs regulations are being exploited with the intention of stifling the lives of Christians. A Catholic told AsiaNews, “This is further confirmation that the country does not respect the freedom of worship and the legitimate interests of believers.”

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: [email protected]

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