China Aid Association
Photo: A House Church in Beijing
(Beijing- May 12, 2008) CAA’s Beijing investigators have learned that after a May 2 incident when police in Sichuan raided and harassed the Autumn Rain Church of Chengdu during a retreat meeting, (for more details click here) the police and officials from religion administration agencies suddenly raided Shouwang House Church in Beijing in the name of stopping an “illegal gathering” and ordered the church to stop meeting.
CAA has also learned that two weeks ago, police and officials from religion administration agencies in Beijing tried to abolish by force a united prayer meeting organized by members of a house church in Beijing. On May 9, a major house church leader, Pastor Dong Yutao, was arrested and placed under criminal detention by Beijing PSB officials for allegedly “receiving illegally printed Bibles and Religious Literature”. Only Bibles printed and distributed by TSPM churches are allowed by Government officials. Pastor Dong is one of 4 leaders of the Beijing City Revival Church, one of the largest house churches in Beijing. He was arrested while on his way to obtain a shipment of Bibles. Attorney Zhang Xingshui, of Beijing Jing Ding Law Firm will represent pastor Dong in court.
At about 2 p.m. on May 11, 2008, a worship service at Shouwang Church in Beijing was going on in normal order inside the Huajie Building near the Third Ring Road in Beijing when uniformed policemen and unidentified plain-clothed detectives waiting at the main hall and the side hall suddenly broke into the main building where the worship was taking place. A plain-clothed law enforcement officer showed his work identification at Haidian District Office for Administration of Ethnic Religious Affairs of Beijing and ordered the church to stop its activities. Officials ordered the members to leave the premises, claiming that the activity was an “illegal gathering”. The church has 3 services, all of which were raided in the same fashion by PSB officials. For more details [click here]
Seven police officials from Haidian District Branch of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau and 20 to 30 employees from Haidian District Office for Administration of Ethnic Religious Affairs of Beijing were involved in the house church raid. Shouwang Church has conducted Sunday worship in the rented office building at Huajia Building for over two years and hadn’t suffered such interference from the government before.
The Beijing House Church Raid is yet another example of the Chinese government’s intensification of its administration and control on various religious activities and gatherings before the Olympic Games. The CPC has continued to trample on human rights despite its rhetoric on improving religious freedom.
Chinese Embassy in Washington DC
Address: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688, (202)5889760
Fax: (202) 588-9760
Issued by CAA May 12, 2008
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Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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