By Marshall Ramsey II, BosNewsLife Special Correspondent with BosNewsLife Asia Service
BEIJING CHINA (BosNewsLife)– Members of a church in China’s Shandong province were recovering from injuries Tuesday, October 4, after an angry mob attacked them amid threats by authorities to destroy their church and reduce their land, representatives said.
China Aid Association members of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Changchunli Church in the provincial capital J’nan were attacked last weekend by some 200 people, including youngsters dressed in police uniforms. The attack seriously injured at least 16 people, including elderly and women, and one person that was left permanently blind in one eye, CAA added.
The fighting began when the crowd reportedly broke into tents set up by members of the church in the city’s Wanda Square to prevent demolition of their church and construction of another project backed by local authorities and land developers.
Believers dialed an emergency police number, but police responded slowly, according to rights activists. “Upon arrival the police officers acted more like bystanders than police, and did not speak with the victims…Land developers were present,” CAA said. Some 300 believers later that day went to the municipal government to stage a protest and petition the police. There was no comment from police officials.
Christians said the violence is a result of secret negotiations in July, 2008, by the director and deputy director of the Jinan Municipal Bureau for Ethnic and Religious Affairs with other officials about the demolition of the church.
The issue is still unsolved due to repeated delays, Christians said. It remained unclear if the Christians would be able to freely worship this weekend.
Rights activists have complained about the destruction of churches and homes, often to make way for projects by wealthy land developments in China, where officials are trying to cash in on spectacular economic growth.