Beijing Police Move Early Against Shouwang Church This Week, Detain Four Evangelists; American Media and Churches Voice Concern

Friday, April 22, 2011

(Beijing – April 22, 2011) Beijing police moved early on members of Shouwang Church, which has defied the government by holding outdoor Sunday worship services for two weeks in a row, and on Thursday detained four of the church’s evangelists, sources told ChinaAid.

The previous two weeks, police did not start detaining pastors and lay leaders until Saturday, in anticipation of the Sunday turnout of Shouwang Church members to the church’s designated outdoor worship site. But in a sign of the escalating tensions in this battle of wills between church and state, police detained the four women evangelists Thursday evening. Two were later released.

Shouwang founder and senior pastor Jin Tianming and other pastors and lay leaders remain under house arrest, which began nearly two weeks ago.

“We are deeply concerned that Shouwang Church’s peaceful outdoor worship service in observance of Easter on Sunday is likely to be met with violence by Chinese security forces,” said ChinaAid founder and president Rev. Bob Fu.

Thursday’s detentions and the ongoing house arrests coincided with the visit this week of one of the most high-profile official U.S. delegations in years. Ten U.S. senators, led by Majority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), met on Thursday with with China’s top legislator Wu Bangguo and Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to be China’s next premier.

The group is the largest Senate delegation ever to visit China, and the senators reportedly were to discuss trade and finance issues with Chinese leaders, as well as human rights. Little information has been released about the bilateral meetings, however, and the delegation’s agenda did not include any plans to join Chinese Christians for any observance of the events of Passion Week or Easter.

Fu said, “We urge the visiting U.S. Senate delegation and the upcoming U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing to make religious freedom one of the central issues to raise with top Chinese officials.”

Meanwhile, more Beijing house churches have publicly expressed their solidarity with Shouwang Church by joining a prayer-and-fasting roster. Last week, 14 house churches pledged to fast and pray one day each week for Shouwang. By Tuesday, the number had grown to 26 churches and one prayer fellowship. See:
The show of support by other large Beijing house churches further raises the stakes in this stand-off between Shouwang and the Beijing authorities.

Fu said, “We appeal to the Chinese government to stop this new wave of concerted persecution against independent churches like Shouwang in the name of  ‘concern over the Jasmine Revolution.’ We call upon true churches in China and people of conscience to stand firmly in solidarity with the persecuted Shouwang Church and others.”

On the eve of Easter weekend, U.S. media coverage of the crackdown of the latest wave of crackdown against independent house churches in China including Shouwang Church continued, and the Wall Street Journal in an editorial criticized China for its heavy-handed control measures. At least two influential large American churches, including Boston's mega-church Park Street Church and Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Ten., also public expressed solidarity with the persecuted Shouwang church members.

related links:

1, Wall Street Journal editorial: Caesar in Beijing:The Communist crackdown now includes Christian churches

2, USA Today: Chinese Christians face tense Easter in Beijing

3, American church leaders voice support:
Special note to the media:

A Shouwang Church member now living in the United States is available for media interviews. She knows the Shouwang founding and senior pastor Jin Tianming.

Kathy Lin can be reached at (408) 781-2102 or

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Website: www.chinaaid.or

Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985