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China Church Demolition
In this image taken from video shot Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, by China Aid and provided to the Associated Press, clouds of debris billow during the demolition of the Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen in northern China's Shanxi province. Witnesses and overseas activists say paramilitary troops known as the People's Armed Police used excavators and dynamite on Tuesday to destroy the Golden Lampstand Church, a Christian mega-church that clashed with the government. (China Aid via AP)

Chinese officials blew up a Christian megachurch

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Chinese officials used dynamite and heavy machinery to destroy one of the country's largest evangelical churches this week, The New York Times reported.

Over 50,000 Christians worshiped at the Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi Province, and it was the second church to be demolished by the Chinese government in the last few weeks.

Destroying christian churches and removing crosses and steeples is part of a larger campaign by President Xi Jinping and the Chinese government, who consider Christianity a threat to the Communist Party.

State newspaper the Global Times reported the demolition of the church was part of "a city-wide campaign to remove illegal buildings."

This is not the first time Chinese authorities have set their sights on the church. In 2009, Bibles were confiscated by police and several congregation leaders were imprisoned.

“The repeated persecution of Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights,” the founder of ChinaAid, a group in the U.S. that monitors religious freedom in China, Bob Fu told The New York Times.

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) responded on Twitter, "All should be free to practice their religion without fear of persecution from the government."

There are over 60 million Christians living in China.

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