An unfortunate event took place in a church of Zhengzhou while China was about to celebrate the coming lunar new year. On January 26, 2017, the evening before Chinese New Year's Eve, Dali Church built in 1989 was demolished due to its alleged "illegal construction".It has a congregation of more than 500 people.
A demolition notice claims that the church violates the law, failing to obtain a certificate of land planning permission from the government.
Recently a contributor of Gospel Times, an online Christian Newspaper in the Mainland China, went the scene and talked with a co-worker of the church. Below are some details about the forced demolition:
Covering an area of 1333.34 m2, the church has a congregation of about 500 people with a construction area of 2000 m2.
"Hearing the news that Dali Church was demolished, many believers suspended their Spring Festival vacation then hurried back to the church. Seeing the church thrown down, they couldn't understand what happened before them with a strong sense of shock and indignation.", says a letter sent to Gospel Times from Dali Church.
The incident stemmed from a contradiction caused by the city's relocation.
The church is located in the rural-urban fringe of Gaoxin District, facing the fate of being relocated. The church leaders negotiated with the local authority for a proper way to solve this issue and the government promised to protect the church's interests during the future demolition and relocation.
However, it is said that before the both sides reached an agreement, about sixty or seventy unidentified persons suddenly broke into the church and pushed down the church building with large machines, seizing communication devices from the church leader who was at the church and destroying his SIM card and telephone line.
Currently, one of the church staff introduces that the church has talked with the government. The latter states that it will fund the church reconstruction to some extent after receiving an estimate of the property loss from the church. But the church hopes that those who conducted the forced demolition can be arrested as soon as possible, who are responsible for compensation for the loss. It holds that the fund granted by the government will be not far enough for the reconstruction.
At present the negotiation is ongoing between the two sides.
Such incident is not uncommon during urban development.
When the contributor was about to leave the place, he was told that Gaoxia Church situated in Xinzheng City of Henan also faces such problem for the village where it sits is being relocated. But the village committee insists on the discussion of compensation after demolishing the church, as a result, there is a dispute between the church and the committee. Until now, the church's power and water supply have been cut off and the door of the church has been blocked by the local committee. The negotiation is being held between the church leader and the government.
The same issue also took place in Zhanghuqiao Church of Zhengzhou.
Seated in an area connecting the city with the rural area, the church was forced to be torn down, as urbanization advances in Zhengzhou. The local village committee is tough on the issue, threatening that it will never allocate the houses of communities to those believers who protest the demolition. The church is talking with the local authority, seeking a solution for reasonable compensation and a land for reconstruction.
Follow-up report will be updated soon.
Translated by Karen Luo