Hong Kong: Chinese police officers have demolished one of the country's largest evangelical churches this week, using heavy machinery and dynamite to raze the building where more than 50,000 Christians worshipped.
The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi province in mainland China was one of at least two Christian churches demolished by authorities in recent weeks, part of what critics describe as a national effort to regulate spiritual life in China.
People watch the demolition of the Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen.
Under President Xi Jinping, the government has destroyed churches or removed their steeples and crosses as part of a campaign that reflects the Communist Party's long-standing fear that Christianity, viewed as a Western philosophy, is a threat to the party's authority.
Global Times , a state newspaper, described the building's destruction as part of a "citywide campaign to remove illegal buildings," and quoted an unidentified official as saying that the church had been "secretly" constructed without proper permits and was initially disguised as a warehouse.