Another church in China was demolished on Tuesday, this time by 70 police officers under orders of the Communist Party. Along with the building, altars, benches, and liturgical furnishings were also destroyed.
The officials said that under a new zoning plan, Liangwang Catholic Church was no longer allowed to stand, Asia News reported, even though the building belonged to the community and had been registered since 2006.
The church demolition was reportedly necessary to accommodate plans to build residential housing and a railway station.
Members of the congregation took photos and video of the demolished church, showing both how the church used to look, and the rubble that was left afterward.
Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness, a group that exposes Christian persecution in China, also posted photos of the rubble on its Facebook page.
Initially 40 people entered the chapel on Tuesday, driving out three church caretakers and seizing their cell phones in the process. Another 30 people later arrived with bulldozers and pickaxes to demolish the church.
International Christian Concern also reported on the incident, noting that the Chinese government has destroyed a number of churches in recent times with the explanation that it needs the land for urban zoning or commercial purposes.
Other churches that have been destroyed include a Catholic building near Xi'an in Shaanxi province. That church was destroyed in December 2017 despite church officials providing proof that they had the necessary permits giving them legal use of the land.
"The disproportionate manpower used to demolish this church goes to show that China is fearful of Christians. The government knew that the demolition in the name of urban zoning would be met with resistance, so it ensured success by taking extreme measures," said ICC Regional Manager Gina Goh.
"Despite their best efforts to intimidate the Church with actions like this, the government cannot destroy the faith and resilience of Chinese Christians," she added.
Some large evangelical megachurches have also faced a similar fate, including Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, which was demolished on Jan. 9.
Believers shared videos online of the $2.6 million house of worship being brought down by explosions planted inside, before a demolition crew broke apart the remaining pieces with diggers and jackhammers.
"The repeated persecution of Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights," ChinaAid President and founder Bob Fu, said at the time.
"ChinaAid calls on the international community to openly condemn the bombing of this church building and urge the Chinese government to fairly compensate the Christians who paid for it and immediately cease these alarming demolitions of churches."