Christian protesters in China have camped out for a month on the roof of their church to stop authorities from taking down its cross, Reuters reported, citing members of the congregation.
Despite an official guarantee of freedom of religion, authorities have been taking down crosses on churches in Zhejiang province, which has a growing population of Christians, since last year.
Twenty-two Christians from the Ya Village Church in the city of Huzhou started camping out overnight on the church roof early last month, threatening to jump off if a government order to remove the cross is carried out, the report cited two church members, Zhang Chaoxia and a man surnamed You, as saying.
Zhang said eight Christian protesters were still on the roof Thursday, others having left because of sickness and the heat.
Officials had urged them to give up and leave, threatening them with jail if they refused, Zhang said.
The state-run Global Times newspaper said Wednesday that crosses on churches in Zhejiang violated building regulations.
This week, police detained seven members of another church in the province for suspected crimes including embezzlement, state media and a lawyer said, after they resisted a bid to take down their cross.
By the end of June, more than 1,500 churches in Zhejiang had their crosses demolished or removed, ChinaAid, a Texas-based Christian advocacy group, said.
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