China: 200 faithful in standoff with 600 policemen who want to destroy Marian shrine of Mujiaping

April 11, 2019

This article is about authorities’ efforts to destroy a Roman Catholic shrine, but it carries ominous implications also for the Orthodox Christians of China, and for all the Christians of that land. The Chinese government is cracking down decisively upon Christian groups that are not officially recognized by the Chinese state, and the Orthodox Church of China is one of those groups. The international human rights community and the United Nations should take note of these actions of the Chinese government and take all necessary and possible steps to compel the Chinese government to grant full religious freedom to all its citizens.

“Fengxiang, 200 faithful in standoff with 600 policemen who want to destroy the Marian shrine of Mujiaping,” by Bernardo Cervellera, Asia News, April 10, 2019:

Rome (AsiaNews) – At least 600 government officials and policemen arrived this morning in front of the Marian shrine of Mujiaping to destroy it. The shrine is located in the Diocese of Fengxiang (Shaanxi), the same where the authorities destroyed the Qianyang church on 4 April.

Alerted to the authorities intentions, late last night, about 200 faithful from the area gathered on the steps leading to the church to defend the sanctuary. “We are willing to lay down our lives,” one of them said. However, the number of police officers and officials is almost three times as many, so it will be very difficult for them to be stopped.

The Marian shrine of Mujiaping is located on a mountainous area of ​​the district of Taibai, in the midst of very poor populations. The church itself is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but people use it as a place of pilgrimage to a statue of the Virgin housed in the shrine.

The police plan to destroy the sanctuary, the historic gate from which one enters the steps that leads to the church, the statue of Our Lady that welcomes pilgrims.

The faithful ask all Christians to pray for the preservation of the sanctuary and the salvation of the population.

In the coming days the authorities have planned the destruction of other churches, at least three.

The violence that is sweeping the Fengxiang churches has a specific goal, confirmed by the faithful: the authorities want the places, the people, the priests and the bishop to belong to the Patriotic Association, the control body of the Communist Party, which wants to build a Church that is “independent” of the Holy See. “If you don’t sign up, we will destroy everything,” an official is reported to have said….