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Chinese province orders crosses to be removed from outside churches

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Experts speculate the regulation could be a power play from the Communist Party.

A Chinese law, giving authorities of the eastern province of Zhenjiang the ability to legally prohibit churches from mounting crosses on their rooftops, has been set up for approval. According to Yahoo News, authorities have already forced removals of crosses atop Catholic and Protestant churches last year.

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MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - There are no clear reasons why they legally sanctioned the churches for this; some experts point out the possibilities of the Communist Party becoming nervous over the rapid growth of Christianity in China.

"To continue to forcefully remove and ban the cross on the rooftop of the church buildings demonstrates the Chinese regime's determination to contain the rapid growth of Christianity in China," said China Aid's Bob Fu through an email.

The U.S. based organization documented 448 churches removed their crosses and some of the buildings were completely burnt. Fu explained that the creation of this draft is a step to legitimize violent approaches the Communist Party will employ against Christian churches.

"I think this is a formal statement that we are in control. It is that 'You have to obey whatever orders we give. If we don't like the cross, you have to change,'" said Yang Fenggang, an expert on China's religious issues at Purdue University, through a telephone interview. Yang added that it could be an act of power with possibly no real effect to the religion.

Authorities from Beijing held a meeting with Christian pastors and scholars last year, mandating that the Christian faith should adapt in China, free from foreign influences.

After Beijing loosened their grip on religion during the 1980s, Christianity grew rapidly among people in China, possibly bothering the Communist party.


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