The Chinese government has scheduled the destruction of 40 more churches.
In an effort to defend their church from destruction, a congregation of Cathoilcs in China’s Hebei province have barricaded themselves within their sanctuary and refuse to leave. CNA reports that the faithful have been holed up since 6 a.m. Thursday, shortly before demolition was meant to begin.
According to AsiaNews the non-violent protest includes fasting and prayer on the part of the congregants. They go on to note that the parish priest attempted to start a dialogue with officials, who were unwilling to parlay.
Although the church in the town of Wu Gao Zhang is officially recognized, it is believed that the government has taken action against it on the grounds that their church does not have the proper permits. Sources in China suggest that the government has been more active in enforcement of permitting requirements since they met with Vatican officials, last September.
The Chinese government, which has scheduled the demolition of an additional 40 churches, has stated that “the Vatican supports us.”
In recent months no less than five other Chinese churches have been closed due to lack of permits or refusal to fall under government scrutiny.