Zan Aizong was taken away as he wrote extensively about the mass demolition of crosses atop churches in Zhejiang. Photo: SCMP Pictures

NewChina questions dissident who wrote on mass demolition of crosses atop Zhejiang’s churches

A Chinese dissident writer who wrote extensively about the mass demolition of crosses atop churches in Zhejiang province was questioned on Tuesday on suspicion of “inciting subversion of the state”, a friend confirmed.

Zan Aizong was on Tuesday taken away briefly and his house raided, according to Zan’s friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to the friend, Zan said in a social media post that police had also seized his computer and cellphone.

Zan, a Zhejiang-based writer and a member of the Chinese Independent Pen Centre, has been vocal on various human rights issues in China, ranging from the jailing of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo to the massive campaign to demolish crucifixes affixed atop Zhejiang’s churches.

A Christian and a former journalist, Zan has written extensively on China’s house churches – unregistered churches deemed illegal by the state – and urged the government to recognise such churches.

The Zhejiang government last year targeted thousands of churches in Wenzhou, known by some as China’s Jerusalem, in a massive campaign in the name of “demolishing illegal construction”.

China Aid, a religious rights group based in the United States, has counted more than 360 crosses and one church demolished in the province from January to July last year.

Police have detained people against the move, including church members and prominent human rights lawyer Zhang Kai, who provided legal counsel for churches in their resistance to the campaign.