Chinese Communist workers were caught on video severing a church rooftop cross earlier this month in Wenzhou, as part of an ongoing campaign in the destruction of churches.
Chinese officials have been removing church rooftop crosses for years, citing building code violations. They have even targeted churches that are registered with the government. Christians as well as persecution watchdog groups say that the campaign is part of efforts to oppress the growing Christian faith, however.
Dioceses in Zhejiang, Henan and Guizhou have been targeted this month with the removal of public symbols of Christianity.
Others, such as Anlong Church in southwestern Guizhou, were told last week to remove structures and crosses as part of a local pilgrimage, claiming that they are in violation of planning laws.
Luoyang Catholic Church in Henan also saw two of its crosses demolished by authorities on Oct. 12.
A clip attached to the video of the demolition at Lingkun shows one female church member aiming a stick at an official, seemingly in protest against the demolition. Another woman is seen crying at the scene.
"That is Christianity is in conformity with Sinicization, in other words, in line with socialism," a Catholic believer by the name of John told UCAnews.
In July, Communist officials ordered as many as 70 police officers to destroy Liangwang Catholic Church, including its altars, benches and liturgical furnishings.
"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 International Christian Concern Regional Manager Gina Goh at the time.
"Despite their best efforts to intimidate the Church with actions like this, the government cannot destroy the faith and resilience of Chinese Christians," she commented.
In other cases, Bibles have been burned and Christian students have been pressured into signing documents renouncing their faith.
USCIRF commissioner Johnnie Moore told The Christian Post in an interview last month that there is little sense or reason to the worsening persecution.
"I think that China, under [President Xi Jinping]'s leadership, is having a relapse to a time in Chinese history that did not bring economic prosperity, but did bring isolation from the world and countless examples of unnecessary suffering," Moore told CP.
"For some strange reason, at such a moment of opportunity, the Chinese leadership is choosing to embrace the methodology of the past."
Watch the church rooftop cross demolition below: