Footage from the northern Chinese province of Shanxi shows several priests and laypeople physically defending their church as government officials try to tear it down with a bulldozer.
According to UCA News, on the morning of August 29, upwards of 2,000 protesters confronted demolition workers who had arrived at the scene with heavy machinery to tear the structure down.
As seen in the footage below, said demolition workers subsequently physically attacked the protesters. The workers were eventually overpowered and forced to leave the scene.
Asia News quotes the protesters seen in the clip as shouting “Jesus save me” as they were being attacked.
According to UCA News, the church in question was first seized by the government in 1992 and rebuilt as a factory.
20 years later, authorities returned the property to the church, which used the factory as their place of worship until April of this year, when authorities decided they wanted to use the property to build a plaza.
“Local authorities claim the demolition is based on a city government requirement to ‘demolish the old and broken,'” reports UCA News, which quotes a priest associated with the church as criticizing authorities for falling back on their legal promise to return the church grounds in 2012.
Meanwhile, as The Christian Post reports, Christian advocacy groups like Open Doors and China Aid have warned of a campaign in the communist country aimed at oppressing Christians and destroying churches.
Communist China has a long history of crimes against Christians; as The Activist Mommy reported in August, a Christian democracy advocate and politician was allegedly kidnapped by Chinese officials and tortured with staples repeatedly slammed into his thighs in the shape of crosses.
Please continue to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in China.
If you’re looking for a way to help, check out Open Doors USA – an organization which works to aid persecuted Christians around the world, including China.