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Churches retaliate after being ordered to replace crosses with image of Chinese President
Churches in a southeast Chinese province have stood up to authorities after being commanded to remove their crosses and replace them with either the national flag or an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
According to Christian charity China Aid, Xinyu, a city with more than 100 churches, received an announcement from government authorities to take down their crosses.
While some churches have obeyed the government, China Aid said other churches refused to follow the order which triggered government agents storming into churches to take crosses down.
Two officials interrupted a village worship service at Kaixuan Church on Sunday.
Liu, who is in charge of the church said: "They want to tear down the cross.
"I made it clear to them that the cross must not be dismantled. They said they didn't mean this and asked again whether or not we could hang the national flag. Now, they have conceded."
Another branch of the church located in downtown Xinyu had been asked to demolish their church, but after the members negotiated, the authorities made concessions.
"The church unanimously opposed the cross dismantling," Liu said.
"They asked the religious affairs bureau 'By which law do you dismantle our cross? Law enforcement should be carried out in accordance with legal procedures.' "
China Aid said the government authorities also told the congregation not to bring children to church.
Liu challenged them on that statement too.
"I said, 'Your policy is in conflict with the Constitution. When the children are born, they are citizens of the People's Republic of China, and they have freedom of belief.
"Children's freedom of belief cannot be interfered with. They can follow their parents' beliefs."
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