Chinese authorities have demolished a church in Jinan, Shandong province, to make way for further development of the area, Catholic news agency UCAN reports.
Liangwang Catholic Church was legally registered with the religious administration. So was Shilihe Church, of the same diocese, demolished earlier this year. A third church, Wangun Catholic Church in Jinan, is awaiting demolition too.
“Is it necessary for the government to do this? Church members just want to have a small area to build a small new church in the vicinity without affecting the development,” said one church member.
The church, which had been restored in 2006, had been serving local Catholics for a century.
The demolition took place on 17 July, when a group of around 40 people arrived at the church, ordering its members to leave and confiscating their mobile phones.
The parish priest and president are now awaiting a response from the authorities following their complaint.
“The stools, altars and dedication boxes were all pressed into the ruins,” said a church member. “The ruins later became a fire and all the items were burned out.”
According to UCAN sources, Pian district office has promised to compensate the church and provide temporary premises but the members have yet to receive any details.