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 (Â£2.91 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.