Officials have demolished two church buildings in Shaanxi province and Christians are concerned about increasing pressure since Xi Jinping became president in 2013.
On 27 December 2017, local authorities in Zhifang village in Lauyu district, demolished a church, after claiming that it was built on illegally occupied land. According to media reports, almost 100 local Christians protested, some chanting, ‘Freedom of belief’. Also, official documents proving the church, built in 1999, had approval to use the land were posted on social media.
Authorities subsequently sent officials to apologise and discuss compensation. But, less than two weeks afterwards, on Tuesday 9 January, authorities used dynamite to demolish a large church in the city of Linfen, also in Shaanxi province.
They had previously claimed the church violated building codes. Officials initially denied the demolition had taken place, while police present during the event pressured witnesses to remain silent.