Chinese government accused of burning crosses in Christian crackdown

By CBS News Interactive

China is facing accusations it's cracking down on the religious freedom of Christians.

One provincial government has systematically removed crosses from churches. Last month, a Protestant pastor was sentenced to 14 years in prison, convicted of financial crimes and also for illegally gathering people to disturb social order.

This battle over the freedom to worship has been ongoing for almost two years now, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane.

Cell-phone video released this week shows yet another cross being taken off a steeple.

The government in Zhejiang Province has removed - sometimes burned down - crosses from as many as 2,000 churches there, according to a U.S.-based religious activist group, "China Aid."

At times, the Christian faithful have protested what they call "illegal demolition," while one of their supporters, Christian lawyer Zhang Kai, was paraded on state TV in February expressing "remorse."

At the start of the government's campaign, an entire church was demolished. The official reason was for violation of "building codes."

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