Local authorities have motivated their decision because the church and the cross are “too visible” from the nearby highway and passing cars can be distracted by the Christian symbol and the building. They also say that the church does not have all the necessary building permits. Instead parishioners maintain that the church – belonging to the official community – was built with the permission of the Religious Affairs Office.The Diocese of Handan has already been warned that there are at least 24 churches that “have no building permits” and will therefore be destroyed. In fact, as the pastor of one of them explains, “at the beginning of the construction of the church, we filed the request and we also obtained permission from the Religious Affairs Office of the village, the municipality and the county. Now they say that it is no longer valid! “.
An elderly Shanxi priest comments laconically: “The Communist Party is like a moon: it changes every day, from the first to the 15th of the month!”
Throughout the diocese the faithful are organizing moments of prayer to Our Lady to “ask for her protection”, hoping that “the holders of power will change their mind and grant true religious freedom to the people”.