China demolishes second church as fears of crackdown against Christianity grow

The Golden Lampstand, an evangelical church in the city of Linfen, Shanxi province was demolished with explosives on Tuesday.

A large team of People’s Armed Police and local officials detonated dynamite inside the building before using cranes and bulldozers to tear the building down, according to witnesses.

A Catholic church in the neighbouring province of Shaanxi was also reportedly demolished last month, 20 years after it originally opened.

China guarantees freedom of religion but authorities heavily regulate many aspects of religious practice.

Chinese church in Linfen destroyed YouTube
The Golden Lampstand church in China was demolished on Tuesday

Churches have to be officially sanctioned and pastors must adhere to a host of strict rules imposed by the government.

The Golden Lampstand was an unregistered independent church opened by an evangelist couple who served a congregation of over 50,000 people.

The church has a history of tension with the communist authorities, dating back to when it was constructed in 2009.

According to China Aid, a Texas-based Christian human rights organisations, congregation members were beaten by 400 officials during an incident in September 2009 which resulted in church leaders receiving lengthy prison sentences on charges such as assembling a crowd to disrupt traffic and illegally occupying agricultural land.

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