Since May 13, 2019, Catholics have been taking turns day and night to prevent local authorities from demolishing statues at the Shengdiliang Shrine in the Xiwanzi Diocese situated in the Chinese province of Hebei, in northeastern China. They fear a new round of persecutions after the authorities stripped a cross from a church in the province.
A cross erected on the outside of the Shenliuzhuang Catholic Church in the Diocese of Handan had already been removed by the authorities in early May. Many Handan parishes have had to post notices saying that “minors are forbidden entry and that Communists are not allowed to believe in religion.” Another notice posted on walls indicates that churches, crosses, or signs notifying that churches established without a permit would be demolished. In total, 24 diocesan churches will be inscribed on a “for demolition” list.
Hebei Province has the largest Catholic population in China with about 1.5 million faithful.