The Failure of the Campaign to Demolish Church Crosses in Zhejiang Province, 2013–2016

A Temporal and Spatial Analysis


In: Review of Religion and Chinese Society
Fenggang Yang Center on Religion and Chinese Society, Purdue University,

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In 2013, the Zhejiang government initiated a campaign to demolish church crosses (DCC) throughout the province in the name of landscape improvement. In April 2016, the campaign was abruptly and quietly halted. The termination of the campaign was primarily due to unremitting resistance by Christians in Zhejiang. This article provides a temporal and spatial analysis of the DCC campaign that reveals multiple failures on the part of the Zhejiang authorities, including missing several self-imposed deadlines to remove all church crosses in the province, inconsistently implementing the campaign in various regions, and causing the breakdown of the bridging mechanism between Christian churches and the party-state. The failure of the DCC campaign is an important empirical case for studies of religion and Chinese society. It indicates that the church-state equilibrium in China may be approaching a tipping point.

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