In its short history, Sanjiang Church was a towering and expansive presence in Yongjia county outside Wenzhou city in Zhejiang provice.
It had a cross that soared to the heavens and a footprint the size of several residential blocks.
But these twin features that had been the pride of church-goers also turned out to be a heartache.
Last week, local authorities cited these in declaring the newly built church an illegal structure and a threat to public safety. Sanjiang’s Christian faithful rose in protest and fought off a demolition order.
Police used batons and shields to break up hundreds of protesters during a night dispersal operation on April 26.
On Monday, they gave in to the inevitable as the church finally went down to the wrecking ball, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday, citing witnesses.
At 11,800 square meters, the church exceeded the construction limit more than 10 times and a spire topped by a cross was deemed too high, Zhejiang Daily reported. The churcht was built with 30 million yuan (US$4.88 million) in donations from parishioners.
Church authorities had been asked to tear down the church but refused, prompting the local government to move in, the report said.
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