China Aid Association
(Beijing—March 21, 2012) With the approach of Easter and the one-year mark of the standoff between Shouwang Church and the Chinese government, church members are facing continued harassment and church leaders are appealing for prayer.
Recently, a person identifying himself as Mr. Yang from the Beijing State Security Bureau, working with another person, has harassed a Shouwang church member, brother Shan Lianfeng, three times in quick succession. This Mr. Yang intimidated brother Shan to leave the church and make a clean break with the church. He also relentlessly used scare tactics to pressure brother Shan to product various church name lists and other information. In addition, Mr. Yang also demanded, with no justification, that brother Shan reveal his household income and savings account balances as well as the location of the new home that his former church small group leader had moved to.
Most serious of all, when brother Shan reported all this to a Shouwang elder and his wife, Mr. Yang and his accomplice said brother Shan would be classified as having leaked state secrets, and repeatedly threatened brother Shan with loss of employment, house arrest and police detention.
The Shouwang elder tried repeatedly to call Mr. Yang on his cellphone, which Mr. Yang said was turned on 24/7, wanting to tell this Mr. Yang that if he wanted to get more information about Shouwang Church he could openly seek out the elder since elders know much more about the church’s affairs. But whenever the elder called Mr. Yang’s number, the cellphone was turned off.
Friends of Shouwang Church and anyone concerned about Shouwang are urged to call Mr. Yang on 13718678570 or 87761681.
During the 2011 Christmas season, Shouwang tried to lease meeting space at three different locations, but, under pressure, all three landlords retracted the lease arrangements. In one case, church members had already moved church furniture into the meeting site. But the night before the first church service, the landlord was left with no alternative but to tell Shouwang that it could not use the premises the next day. Although church members worked through the night to notify everyone of the change of plans, some still did not get the news and showed up the next day, only to find the meeting place under the control of plainclothes police who refused to let anyone enter. The situation on New Year’s Day 2012 was the same.
The persecution of the past year has produced ample evidence, both in terms of actual events as well as the personal experiences of Shouwang members, that the authorities sought from the very outset to shut down the church. This was a carefully planned campaign by Beijing to blacken the reputation of China’s large house churches.