|Members of Shouwang Church in Beijing sing
hymns at an outdoor church service despite
the snow in an updated photo.
(Photo: China Aid Stock Photo)
Reported and written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Rachel Ritchie.
(Beijing—Oct. 30, 2015) During a church gathering on Sunday, Beijing authorities administratively detained four members of Shouwang Church, which has faced continuous persecution since 2009.
Zeng Miao, Huang Danyi, Guan Shanyue and Sun Huibo joined Dong Hulan for a Christian gathering in a Zhongguancun park in Beijing’s Haidian District on Sunday. When the Christians arrived at the park, local police arrived and took four members of the group into custody for “disturbing public order;” the four were sentenced to 10 days in administrative detention.
“They went to the park because police hadn’t been there for a month or two, and church members were able to come and go without interception. After the National Day parade, control was loosened a little bit; this week, control has been tightened again,” another Shouwang Church member said.
“Among the five Christians [that were at the park on Sunday], Dong Hulan previously attended gatherings at the park quite often and was, therefore, more familiar with the police,” the Christian said. “Guan Shanyue has been administratively detained once; Huang Danyi has been detained often.”
Shouwang Church has been persecuted since October 2009, when authorities ran the group out of a church-owned building. The church later attempted to purchase or rent new locations, and each time, authorities pressured the landlords or previous property owners to break their contracts with the church.
After Shouwang Church resorted to worshipping outdoors, most frequently in Zhongguancun’s Haidian Park, police continued to interfere, with several church members administratively detained on an almost weekly basis.
Additionally, the church’s lead pastor, Jin Tianming, has been held under 24-hour surveillance with restrictions concerning his daily activities since 2009.
“No one among house church pastors in China is controlled as tightly as Jin Tianming,” a church member said.
Guo Baosheng, a house church pastor who lives in the United States after being forced to flee China said that the international community must pray for Shouwang Church. “The significance of continuing to worship outdoors for years and this incident in the park can be summarized in 16 Chinese characters, [which mean]: to overcome fatigue, to continue fighting, to awaken memory, [and] to watch over each other.
“In addition, this action is also a reminder to Chinese churches, domestic and abroad—Shouwang Church is still being persecuted. We have to watch; we have to pray.”
(Correction: A previous version stated that persecution against Shouwang Church began in 2011; however, Shouwang Church was forced out of its meeting place for the last time in 2009.)