11/04/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – On Friday, November 1, ICC posted an article on the Official Catholic Church in Hebei Province being threatened with a demolition by order by the Chinese government. While still far from ideal, the situation has moved in a more amicable direction.
The confrontation began on October 31 when demolition crews and government field agents showed up at the Wugaozhuang Church of Guantao. With the threat of demolition looming against the church, the church leadership and congregation initiated a sit-in protest and barred government officials and their workers from entering the church grounds. In time, the protestors were joined by other Catholic laymen and church leaders from around the Handan Diocese.
Meanwhile, the priests of Wugaozhuang Church of Guantao and other local parishes met with government officials to negotiate settlement to the issue. The debate continued long into the night, with locals and Christians from around the area attempting to bring food to those protesting, only to be stopped and turned away by police.
Eventually, the state officials relented and promised to provision the church a new parcel of land and 200,000 Yuan to rebuild a church building upon that land. The priests have demanded the land be granted immediately in return for relinquishing the present church building, although it is presently unknown whether or not the land promised has been turned over.
While the situation regarding Wugaozhuang Church of Guantao may seem decidedly one-sided, across the wider region, it may be perceived as fortunate. Many other churches have been closed down without recourse. These acts on the part of the Chinese government are only the latest in the ongoing state-directed secularization campaign.
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