[Follow-up] Two Churches Resettled after Forcibly Demolished

By CCD contributor: Ding Dong, March 10, 2017 05:03 AM

The design sketch (after decoration) of the new gathering place for Dali Church

Recently the local government has resettled two churches of Zhengzhou forcibly demolished in January 2017 after negotiations. 

Owning a congregation of more than 500, Dali Church built in 1989 has received a story of an office building in compensation for the sudden demolish occurred on the evening of January 26, before Chinese New Year's Eve. The incident stemmed from a contradiction caused by the city's relocation. In the recent years, many houses and villages face the fate of being relocated in the course of urbanization.

Located in the rural-urban fringe of Gaoxin District, the former church was pushed down by unidentified persons who claimed the church as "alleged illegal construction" before the church and the local authority reached an agreement on the relocation. 

Responding to the issue, the local government promised to be liable for the church loss. It gave a floor of a nearby office building and a sum of money for decoration to the church. Satisfied with the compensation, the congregation of the church launches a fundraising campaign for the fit-out project of the new place which is estimated to be completed within a month. The church leader introduces that currently the church holds services in a factory owned by a Christian entrepreneur.

Another church situated in Zhanghuqiao Village, Zhongmou County, Zhengzhou, has been temporarily resettled in a two-story bungalow belonged to the local village committee. Seated in an area connecting the city with the rural area, the former church building was also destined to be relocated, which was a legal religious premise. After the forced demolition, the previous talk between the church and the government produced no result for allocating a land that should be used for the new church construction. The local village committee was tough on the issue, unwilling to solve the problem, claims that a church staff.

However, a recent decision from the local authority says that the church uses the bungalow before it is properly resettled. The bungalow has seven rooms each of whose area reaches around 45 m2. The church leader tells CCD that they have knocked five rooms into one that is used for services and gatherings the rest are for other ministries. The church held the Sunday service here on March 5. The believers are happy with the result.

The relocation issue is a common problem during the process of urbanization. A lawyer holds that a church that is unfairly treated on the issue should solve the problem in a rational way and try its best to seek a solution through negotiation or the legal system, rather than define the thing as a religious persecution that attracts public concern.

Translated by Karen Luo

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