Hundreds of Chinese Christians Continue Sit-In Protest for Church Property

Three hundred Christians have been participating in a sit-in demonstration at the original location of their church property to protest against the local government occupation and sales of the land, reported China Aid Association (CAA) on Tuesday.

Since Oct. 16, 300 Christians from the government-recognized Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) church in Qinzhou district, Tianshui city, in the northwest province of Gansu have been sitting at their original church property to protest the sales of the land. The property was recently sold to a developer for about $2.2 million USD (17 million RMB) though the Christians were offered $6,348 (50,000 RMB) for the property.

The church property was lost in 1966 during the Cultural Revolution and the land was allocated to two nation-owned factories. Following the Cultural Revolution, the church has repeatedly requested the government return the property, but the government insisted on compensating the church $6,348 for the land instead.

The demonstration has lasted for 15 days, according to a CAA report on Tuesday.

Last week the spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, concluded his first visit to China with favorable descriptions of China against the protest of human rights groups which highlighted cases of religious freedom and human rights violations.

In a recent incident on Oct. 26, 35 Christians in China were arrested during a Bible training program in China led by an American Korean pastor who is under resident surveillance, according to a report on Oct. 27.

Christian persecution watchdog groups have especially drawn attention to religious freedom violations in China that have countered Williams’ description of China as a country with a “great opportunity” for Christians.