The Kunming municipal government stated that the local landmark Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus claimed as an "illegal construction" would be dismantled and transformed from October 1.
On September 2, the Urban Management and Law Enforcement of Panlong District where the Catholic church is located issued a notice for open tenders for the removal and renovation of the authorized building works, according to Tencent News.
The announcement states that the building in question is the Catholic cathedral situated on Beijing Road of Yunnan Province. Originally built in 1935 and formerly known as Teresa Church, it was renamed the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1980. Becoming a dilapidated house, it was permitted to be reconstructed by the provincial government in 2007.
Known as Kunming Subway 101, the reconstruction project was operated by Kunming Diocese in 2010, which was responsible for the establishment of a five-story building that covers more than 15,000 square meters (3.7 acres). Completed in 2018, the complex includes a square, the cathedral and the underway skyscraper construction, and the two-floor underground space leased as retail space for shops.
The document defines the cathedral as an illegal construction but uses obscure words such as “demolition” and “transformation” that may avoid unnecessary trouble.
It explains that the current situation of the complex with a total construction area of 25,000 square meters (6.17 acres), consisting of nine overground stories and three underground floors is not in accordance with the original plan. What’s more, the footsteps leading into the main entrance of the church exceeds the boundary line of roads and the ground level is 1.45 meters higher than the road.
With the estimated cost to be about 29.5 million yuan, the transformation plans to begin on October 1 and end on January 1, 2022.
Reusable stuff like tables, chairs, doors, windows, and cables will be removed then given back to the church.
Recently, the removal message of the cathedral has been widely circulated on the Internet, attracting many young people to take photo snaps and videos around the church whether in the daytime or at night. Even professional photographers are making business from it.
After holding several masses and sacraments, the church presently remains closed to the public.