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Christians form human shield around church in 'China's Jerusalem' after demolition threat
Thousands of Chinese Christians have mounted an extraordinary, round-the-clock defence of a church in a city known as the 'Jerusalem of the East' after Communist Party officials threatened to bulldoze their place of worship.
In an episode that underlines the fierce and long-standing friction between China's officially atheist Communist Party and its rapidly growing Christian congregation, Bible-carrying believers this week flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to protect it from the bulldozers.
Their 24-hour guard began earlier this week when a demolition notice was plastered onto the newly-constructed church which worshippers say cost around 30 million yuan (ÂŁ2.91 million) and almost six years to build.
Officials claimed the church had been built illegally and used red paint to daub the words: "Demolish" and "Illegal construction" onto its towering facade....
Michelle Obama wrote: During a visit to China last month, Michelle Obama, the US First Lady, hinted at concerns over religious freedom here, telling an audience: "When it comes to expressing yourself freely, and worshipping as you choose, and having open access to information â€“ we believe those are universal rights that are the birthright of every person on this planet."
Now, that is one big building. It's great to have a well-designed, functional house of worship, but it isn't the building which is holy as one congregant said--it is the people who make up a true church.