China denies declaring war on Christians after mega-church is razed Communist Party officials deny the controversial demolition of a church in China's 'Jerusalem' is designed to discourage Christianity amid fears of nationwide clampdown on religion The Sanjiang church in Wenzhou, a wealthy coastal city in Zhejiang province with one of China's largest Christian populations, was reduced to rubble on Monday night Communist Party officials have rejected claims they have launched an orchestrated campaign to slow the spread of Christianity in China, after demolition teams razed a church in a city known as the "Jerusalem of the East". The Sanjiang church in Wenzhou, a wealthy coastal city in Zhejiang province with one of China's largest Christian populations, was reduced to rubble on Monday night after excavators spent the day tearing parts of the building down. Congregants accused the provincial government, which is controlled by Xia Baolong, an ally of Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, of promoting an orchestrated anti-church campaign in order to slow Christianity's rapid growth. China could be set to become the world's largest Christian congregation by 2030, a leading expert told The Telegraph earlier this month. Officials denied the demolition was an attack on Christianity on Tuesday and vowed to "aggressively push on" with a campaign against illegal buildings. "There are many Christians and we give a lot of respect to freedom of religion," a government propaganda official told the state-run Global Times newspaper. However, in an address to Communist Party members earlier this year a senior official for religious affairs complained that Christianity's growth had been "too excessive and too haphazard." Monday's demolition sent a chill through China's Christian community, now thought to number anywhere between 23 million and 100 million people. Some church leaders and academics fear Beijing may be paving the way for a nationwide campaign targetting the officially illegal "house church" movement that refuses to accept Communist Party oversight. The government would continue to protect "legal religious venues" but would "aggressively push on with the demolition of illegal buildings in accordance with the law," the state-controlled Zhejiang Daily newspaper warned on Tuesday. Chinese Christians reacted angrily as photographs showing the crippled church spread. "They have gone too far. Countless worshippers are shedding tears of sorrow tonight," one Protestant leader from Wenzhou said after virtually the entire church structure came crashing down on Monday evening. "It is outrageous and utterly unjust." Chen Yilu, the head of the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, took the unusual step of speaking out against the government's "crude and hard-line" handling of the situation. The church's demolition would damage the Communist Party's image and harm "social stability", he predicted. The Zhejiang Daily defended the demolition, claiming church leaders had been given the chance to demolish "illegal" parts of the building themselves but had "failed to live up to their commitment". Congregants had "spread online rumours" about the church's destruction and "incited illegal gatherings inside this illegal building," it claimed. The propaganda official claimed the demolition was part of a wider campaign against "illegal constructions". More than 43 million square feet of illegal structures had so far been torn down "including factories and Buddhist temples." The destruction of Sanjiang church, which had taken years to build and was designed to hold several thousand worshippers, showed authorities were "treating everyone equally", the official added. China denies declaring war on Christians after mega-church is razed - Telegraph ********************************************************* china claims to be a tolerant Nation that allows all religions to flourish. Here is an example of China's tolerance to religion!