China Urged to Block Demolition of 'Prayer Mountain' Churches

( [email protected] ) Jul 16, 2007 06:40 AM EDT

Local government authorities in China are getting ready to demolish three well-known house churches, according to reports received by China Aid Association.

The CAA, a U.S.-based organization that monitors the persecution of Chinese Christians, was informed that “prayer mountain” church buildings in the city of Wenzhou in the Yongjia county of the Zhejiang province are to be knocked down.

The three buildings were built about 10 years ago in three different mountains to serve primarily as prayer mountain churches. Believers head to the churches everyday and as many as 800 believers gather at each building once a month.

Sources told the CAA that local authorities are accusing the members of these church buildings of belonging to an “evil cult” and that the decision to demolish the buildings stems from nervousness over the fact that there are more house churches than government sanctioned churches.

The authorities have now issued an order to destroy the three church buildings next week. The CAA also discovered that most of the local house church leaders have been threatened with arrest to prevent them from blocking the planned demolitions.

"To destroy church buildings used for prayer is very deplorable," said the CAA’s founder, the Rev Bob Fu. “We urge the Chinese central government to help stop this type of barbaric acts by the local government."

According to the watchdog group, 11 house church buildings were either occupied or destroyed by local government in Yongjia County alone between 1997 and 2003.