By government order, 100 people destroyed the Dongsheng church in the middle of the night. The priest and the leadership of the laity were imprisoned for 20 hours. Catholics are camped in the rubble to prevent the beginning of construction.
Hohhot (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The only Catholic church in Ordos, a city in Inner Mongolia province in northern China, was demolished on June 7. The priest Gao En and lay leader Yang Yizhi were arrested by police.
At about midnight 100 people arrived at Dongsheng the church (pictured, before being demolished), belonging to the Catholic community, and destroyed it. Fr. Gao En and Yang Yizhi, awakened by the noise, tried to prevent the demolition but were handcuffed and taken away.
The church, belongs to a community of about 1,000 Catholics, a small part of the estimated 200,000 throughout Inner Mongolia, was duly registered since May 2009. The local government had recently ordered the demolition of the church to make way for a new road. All attempts by the Catholics to government to revoke its order fell on deaf ears.
Many believers have camped among the rubble to prevent the onset of construction. One of them expressed indignation: "How can the government demolish the church secretly in the night, detain the priest and the lay leader and at the same time talk about social harmony?".
After 20 hours of detention, Fr Gao En and Yang Yizhi were released. Two priests sent by the Bishop of Hohhot, Paul Meng Qinglu, are negotiating with the local government for compensation.