The Chinese government has been on a campaign to remove crosses from the spires of many churches in rural China. Only recently, laborers have used blowtorches to cut a 10-foot high cross off the 120-foot steeple of the Salvation Church. This is only one of the many churches that are being destroyed in the country.
"It's been very difficult to deal with," said one church elder in the Chinese town of Shuitou, in the Fujian province. He requested for anonymity to avoid getting in trouble with the authorities.
"We can only get on our knees and pray," he continued.
Workers in Dachang Church have put up scaffolding and sawed off the church's cross. Police authorities have blocked parishioners from entering the Dachang Church grounds. According to officials and residents, the local authorities have torn down crosses from 1,200 to 1,700 churches over the past two years.
"The authorities have attached great importance to this religious symbol," Zheng Leguo told Breitbart. Leguo is a pastor from the Zhejiang province who currently lives in the United States. "This means no more prominent manifestation of Christianity in the public sphere," he added.
Crosses now lie toppled on rooftops or in yards, or buried like corpses specifically seen in the nearby villages of Ximei, Aojiang, Shanmen and Tengqiao.
The campaign has been claimed to be only applicable to Zhejiang Province, which is home to one of China's largest Christian populations. However, with the tight administration of President Xi Jinping, the removal of crosses has been a nationwide effort with hopes of strictly regulating the spiritual life in China.
"What has been happening in Zhejiang is a test," said Fan Yafeng, as quoted by the New York Times. Yafeng is an independent legal scholar in Beijing.
"If the government views it as a success, it will be expanded," Yafeng continued.
It has been reported that local authorities are planning to start scrutinizing the finances and foreign ties of churches and other spiritual institutions as part of an effort to limit the influence of religions the party considers a threat, especially Christianity.