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Thursday, June 2, 2011

imageChina Aid Association 06/02/2011
Religious Freedom Under Attack in China
Show Solidarity with Beijing Shouwang Church:  Click Here and Sign the Signature Campaign
A few weeks before Easter this year, an independent house church in Beijing started to make international headlines. Beginning April 10, when members of Shouwang Church tried to hold a Sunday worship service in an open-air plaza in northwest Beijing, the world's biggest media organizations have been on hand each Sunday to document police taking into custody scores of Chinese Christians who wanted nothing more than to peacefully exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to practice their religion. Hundreds have been detained and released or put under extra-judicial house arrest for varying periods; the church's top leaders have been illegally confined to their homes since April 9. (See links below for details reported by major news organizations.)

While the trigger for this now-weekly church-state stand-off was Shouwang's loss of its worship site in early April when its landlord, under government pressure, evicted the 1000-member church from its leased premises, the dispute is not simply over church property or whether Christians in China are allowed to worship outdoors.
What happens to Shouwang and how China's authoritarian leadership deals with a fearless church that has a stated goal of being "a city on a hill" is a harbinger for the future of China's social development and, by extension, what kind of nation China will become. Will the ruling Communist Party tolerate the existence of a peaceful, patriotic and law-abiding but rapidly expanding group of citizens, whose ranks are increasingly joined by society's greatest influencers - lawyers, internationally acclaimed scholars, successful international businessmen - who not only resolutely refuse to join the ranks of government-sanctioned churches but who boldly proclaim allegiance to a higher authority?
Even non-China specialists recognize the import of the Shouwang case. See in particular Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson likening the petition to a "founding document for a new China" (
With the 2012 Communist Party Congress and its much-anticipated leadership change approaching, China is at a critical crossroads. Historically, the Party's response is to clamp down and try to obliterate any potentially or perceived destabilizing elements.
But in the 21st century, with a rising China that is increasingly a major world player, the international community has an unprecedented opportunity - and indeed a responsibility - to send a strong, clear message to China's leaders that the governments of modern, civilized and advanced nations are expected to uphold their own constitutions, grant and protect civil liberties, including religious freedom, and establish a rule of law that requires law-enforcement personnel to also be law-abiding.image
You play a critical role in getting that message across. You can do that simply by adding your name to the Shouwang signature campaign and writing a brief message of encouragement at

See CNN's reports:
Underground Christians fear China crackdown
Church officials: Chinese authorities block Easter service in Beijing

The New York Times' reports are here:
China Detains Worshipers Over Praying in Public
Illicit Church, Evicted, Tries to Buck Beijing
The Wall Street Journal's report is here:
Caesar in Beijing

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

"Bob Fu has dedicated his life to bringing freedom of religion to the Chinese people. His story is a testimony to the power of faith and an inspiration to people struggling to break free from oppression."
—Mrs. Laura Bush

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