Chinese Megachurch Demolished; Congregants Badly Beaten

A megachurch in eastern China was recently demolished by reportedly 400 people in police suits, a human rights group reported Tuesday.

Before dawn last Sunday, the mob raided the "Good News Cloth Shoes Factory," which also serves as the site for the Fushan Church. Men tore at the building's foundation with shovels as bulldozers worked to level other buildings on the site, according to ChinaAid Association.

Meanwhile, dozens of church members sleeping at the construction site of the new church building were suddenly attacked with bricks and other objects. Several members were severely injured and were sent to the emergency room, and some members were unconscious.

Over 100 people were injured by the attack, according to the church's Web site.

However, authorities told the local emergency room not to treat or give blood transfusions for the injured church members. Two of the injured congregants had to be transferred with oxygen masks to another hospital.

The power, water and telephone lines to the Christian-run factory were also all cut off. Guards also closely monitored the supply lines running to the factory.

"We are totally shocked to hear of this bloody crackdown against innocent Christian believers by the Fushan county officials," said Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid. "We urge the Chinese government to hold those abusive officials accountable and take concrete actions to guarantee the Fushan citizens' religious freedom."

Members of the Fushan church say they saw government officials among the mob, including the secretary of Zhangzhuang town, Gao Xuezhong, and the vice county executive, Duan Yumin, giving the command to destroy the church.

Besides destroying buildings, the mob also smashed refrigerators, motorcycles and stole the television and other appliances, according to CAA. Church members reported that their money, cell phones, clothes and the factory's business license were stolen.

On Sunday, thousands of church members who later arrived for service were said to be shocked to find the buildings completely destroyed. Photos of the church, available on its Web site, show the brick buildings lying in rubbles. Congregants described the scene as "worse than the Wenchuan earthquake."

Fushan Church members say they are praying to God for justice and for those injured in the attack.

"Please pray fervently for the badly hurt brothers and sisters' life and the severely damaged house of the Lord in Fushan Church," read a note posted on the church's Web site.

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