Catholics and Protestants in the eastern province of Zhejiang, China, have launched an ‘ecumenical’ campaign to make crosses and carry them with them everywhere they go.
Launched on social media, the idea of this legal and peaceful protest has met with huge success, and is a response to the “clean-up” policy by local authorities against churches and crosses, under the excuse that Christians have failed to respect building regulations.
Since 2013, when Zhejiang was designated as an area of ”great economic development”, the authorities have pursued a policy of “beautifying” the region by removing illegal structures.
According to the provincial government, all communities and private places are targeted, without distinction. However, Christian churches and crosses have been the main target.
The first destruction orders were issued after Zhejiang party secretary Xia Baolong noted that a church in Baiquan was too visible and an “eyesore”. Seeing that the skyline was full of crosses, he gave the order to “rectify” it. Since then, the party has been tearing down crosses, statues and churches.
The Christian community has not taken this lying down, and some Protestant and Catholic communities have written a long memorandum to the Party, describing the campaign as “little more than a bad joke”.
Now some Christians are planning to put up crosses in their own homes. A Christian in Wenzhou posted on a popular Chinese blogging site and included a picture with a group of Christians preparing wooden crosses (pictured).
A catholic priest who teaches at the Sichuan Catholic seminary, posted a similar message, calling on churches in other parts of the country to “join the relay” in the “safe and legal non-violent disobedience movement,” adding that “Tomorrow you will see crosses everywhere in Zhejiang”.
- Pray for Christians in Zhejiang, and across China, as they seek to fight for their constitutional rights to worship in freedom.
- Pray for protection for Zhejiang Christians, as they peacefully protest the destruction of crosses in their district. Pray that the peaceful protest may be a strong witness to their faith.
- Pray for China, for the authorities to come to welcome Christianity and not see it as a threat to security. Pray for the continued spread of the Gospel there, and growth of the Church in all regions.
1 Corinthians 16 vs 13: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”