05/12/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – China has been demolishing more than thousands of crosses in Henan province, with the aim to clamp down on Christianity in a place that is home to the second-largest population of Christians in China.
Now, many fear that the crackdown will spread to Shandong province as well.
According to China Aid, a state-sanctioned Three Self church pastor said that an inspector group was sent by the State Administration of Religious Affairs to station in Shandong – seeking to forcibly remove all crosses in the province, ban minors from entering churches, shut down training centers, and remove any other religious symbols.
Green Pasture Church in Shandong’s Linyi city, which has more than 25 years of history, saw its cross forcibly removed by local authorities during Easter. A local pastor who asked not to be named said that this was just the beginning. The officials already informed them verbally that the inspectors from the state have already stationed in Shandong. He said, “Now the [inspection] will begin in many places.”
This time the inspection not only targets house churches, but also includes Three Self churches. “Basically, it is to remove the crosses from churches, ban youth under the age of 18 from entering church, adopting the same model like that of Henan and Zhejiang” he added. Zhejiang was a province that was heavily cracked down several years ago for its thriving Christianity.
The inspector group requests the churches to strictly follow “Four Advancement” in this latest clampdown— adhering to socialism core values, ensuring the presence of Xi Jinping’s portrait and Red Flag in the church, and removing crosses across the province.