The War For China's Soul

As Christianity begins to reshape the nation, TIME learns new details about a crackdown on one church

Several weeks after the attack, the witness is still trembling. "Everyone knew trouble was coming," the man says, describing the day last month that haunts him still. A fit-looking fortysomething wearing a T shirt and jeans, the man was a volunteer working on a half-completed church in a suburb of Hangzhou, a picturesque lakeside city 112 miles southwest of Shanghai. Financed by local Christians, the church was to serve a community of 5,000 parishioners. Hundreds of them gathered at the site on the afternoon of July 29, some joining the construction crew building the church. Others, many of them elderly parishioners,...

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