Local officials were seen removing crosses from a church in a new footage, captured by a priest.
According to International Christian Concern (ICC), the incident happened on Friday, March 9, 2018, at Shangqiu Catholic Church South Cathedral in Henan Province.
It all started when an unidentified group stormed into the church and shut off the electrical power.
The police were immediately alerted. Unfortunately, things only got worse as the police seized phones and locked out the priests and nuns.
Afterward, crosses, including a large rooftop cross, were removed from the building in a raid that reportedly lasted for about five hours.
Everything was captured by Father Francis Liu, who shared a video on Twitter.
The crosses were reportedly returned a day later on March 10, 2018.
“They claim that the local authorities had a misunderstanding so they put the crosses back!” a source said.
However, Ucanews reports that only three crosses were replaced, with smaller ones. The authorities took down six crosses.
This incident has been condemned by a lot of watchdog groups.
ICC Regional Manager Gina Goh said: “The crackdown on churches used to be targeted mostly at underground communities, but we are now seeing increasing assaults and harassment on state-sanctioned churches as well.”
“Please pray for the Church in China to persevere despite growing persecution,” he added.
China Aid also criticised the government’s “campaign of hatred against Christianity.”
“This type of extreme act will not weaken the growth of Christianity in China, nor will it bring any positive impact to Xi [Jinpings]’s regime.”
This is the government’s latest attempt to persecute Christians, as the faith is seen as a challenge to its authority.