Christians have flocked to defend a church in eastern China after Communist Party officials claimed it was an "illegal construction" and announced plans to demolish it
Thousands of Chinese Christians have mounted an extraordinary, round-the-clock defence of a church in a city known as the 'Jerusalem of the East' after Communist Party officials threatened to bulldoze their place of worship.
In an episode that underlines the fierce and long-standing friction between China's officially atheist Communist Party and its rapidly growing Christian congregation, Bible-carrying believers this week flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to protect it from the bulldozers.
Their 24-hour guard began earlier this week when a demolition notice was plastered onto the newly-constructed church which worshippers say cost around 30 million yuan (£2.91 million) and almost six years to build.
Officials claimed the church had been built illegally and used red paint to daub the words: "Demolish" and "Illegal construction" onto its towering facade.
The threat triggered a furious reaction in Wenzhou, a booming port city known for its vibrant Christian community, said to be China's largest.