A source in Xuwan village of Xiantao city, in Hubei Province’s Hanyang Diocese, said the government forced the community to tear down the older building, as local policy dictates that no Chinese city is allowed to have two churches. The officials warned them that if it were not razed, no license would be issued for the new church. Local Catholics complied and the older building was bulldozed on April 12.
However, the government is still refusing to provide a license for the replacement unless they agree to another provision: in exchange for the license, they must also remove a convent for nuns in the neighborhood.
“They told us the convent was dangerous from a structural standpoint,” the source said, on request of anonymity. “But we don’t believe they had any basis to make such a claim. It was just a ruse.”
“The convent has played witness to the development of our diocese (over the decades), so we cannot accept its loss,” the source said.
“But if our new church is demolished (in addition to its predecessor), our community of 2,000 parishioners will definitely suffer (as we will have nowhere sanctified to pray and hold services),” the source added.