A pastor's wife in China's central Henan province has died after she and her husband were buried alive when they tried to prevent the destruction of their church.
Though the church leader managed to escape, is wife had suffocated to death by the time she was freed on April 14, China Aid reported while its president Bob Fu condemned the actions of those pulling down the church.
A government-backed company sent staff to bulldoze Beitou Church in Zhumadian, Henan province, after a local developer wished to take control of the church's valuable property, China Aid said.
Li Jiangong, who was in charge of the church, and his wife, Ding Cuimei, stepped in front of the machinery in their attempt to thwart the demolition.
"Bury them alive for me," a member of the demolition team said. "I will be responsible for their lives," China Aid reported.
A bulldozer shoved Li and Ding into a pit and covered their bodies with soil. Crying for help, Li was able to dig his way free, but Ding suffocated before she could be rescued.
"Bulldozing and burying alive Ding Cuimei, a peaceful and devout Christian woman, was a cruel, murderous act," China Aid president Bob Fu said.
"This case is a serious violation of the rights to life, religious freedom and rule of law.
"The Chinese authorities should immediately hold those murderers accountable and take concrete measures to protect the religious freedom of this house church's members."
Many people fear that the Communist party in China, under President Xi Jinping, is acting in an increasingly hostile way toward Christianity, Christian Today reported.
It noted that a government campaign to remove crosses from churches and to detain pastors and Christian leaders has grown in recent months.