The Chinese government’s official news media reports that about 3000 Christians have been involved in clashes with the police over the demolition of an unofficial church building. The report says two people were arrested but gives no numbers of those injured.
This follows claims by the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy that up to 500 Chinese police clashed with Protestant Christians leaving 20 people hurt, some seriously.
According to official reports Christians had started construction of the church in the Xiaoshan district of Hangzhou, provincial capital of Zhejiang, in an area designated for a commercial centre and in violation of a law concerning land management and city planning.
Behind the unrest is the continuing issue of Christians wishing to worship in unregistered church groups rather than in the government sponsored church. Protestantism is an officially recognised religious community in China but ‘house churches’ are not.