Bishop says China “trampling” on Christianity by cross removals
The Archbishop of Hong Kong, Most Rev Paul Kwong, said the Chinese government is “trampling on Christianity” by removing church crosses. He also expressed scepticism over the government’s reasons for taking the crosses down.
Chinese authorities had previously stated the church crosses were taken down because of “health and safety” concerns. However, Archbishop Kwong has said if this really was the case, the authorities would allow churches to replace the crosses with smaller ones, rather than forcefully remove them permanently.
The archbishop has written to the director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, Wang Zuoan, urging for a resolution.
Archbishop Kwong is a member Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a group of political delegates from various organisations which advises the government on policy. He has traditionally been seen as supportive of the Chinese state, so his comments are even more penetrating and relevant.
Hong Kong’s diocesan newspaper The Echo quoted Archbishop Kwong as saying: “Placing a cross on top of a church is a common practice in Christianity. If the Zhejiang authorities think there is a safety concern to have an oversized cross, it only needs to order the church to change for a smaller one. Now that the authorities forcefully removed the cross without obvious and immediate danger, it is damaging religious freedom and trampling on Christianity.”
ACN has received reports that the Chinese government has taken down more than 1,200 crosses in the past two years, and completely demolished several other churches.