China removes cross from church after month

August 7, 2015 09:06

Chinese authorities removed a cross from a church on Friday after Christian protesters ended a month-long sit-in on the building's roof in a bid to protect the cross from what they said was its unfair removal, witnesses said.

Communist China officially guarantees freedom of religion though authorities are sometimes suspicious of religious groups.

Christians in the eastern province of Zhejiang, which has a growing Christian population, say authorities have been taking down crosses on churches since last year, creating tension between officials and congregations.

Video footage sent to Reuters by Zhang Zhaoxia, a member of the congregation at Ya Village Church in Huzhou city, showed authorities using a crane to remove the cross from the church's steeple. Reuters could not verify the footage.

Up to 22 members of the church staged a roof-top protest for a month to guard the cross but government officials told their relatives on Thursday the occupation had to end that day.

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