Radio Free Asia: A seminar attended by various house churches in Beijing was dispersed by the Public Security Bureau and Pastor Jin Tianming’s freedom is still restricted

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Translated by ChinaAid

Mandarin Chinese program of Radio Free Asia   February 28, 2013

Photo: Believers of house churches in Beijing held a seminar.  The police arrived to book the information and dispersed the attendants (provided by the believers)

Leaders and believers of various house churches in Beijing held a joint seminar on Monday of this week so that they could give their opinions on the Cape Town Commitment achieved at the Third Lausanne Congress.  However, the seminar was harassed by the Public Security Bureau when a police officer booked by force the ID information of the attendants.  The seminar was forced to stop.  Besides this, Pastor Jin Tianming of Shouwang Church has been placed under house arrest for over two years and at this time he still does not have the freedom of movement.

Leaders and believers of various house churches in Beijing held a seminar on Cape Town Commitment achieved at the Third Lausanne Congress at a private residence in Wangjing Community in Chaoyang District.  There, they were harassed by a police officer from a local police station that got the wind of it.  Mr. Chu, one of the Christian organizers at the site, told this radio station that the police officer entered the room by force and booked the ID information of the attendants.  “The seminar started at 2 o’clock and at about 4:30, a police officer knocked on the door to check our IDs.  At first, we didn’t let him enter, so we continued.  He then again knocked on the door.  After he entered the residence, we asked him to go to another room.  He ordered to book our information (IDs).  Teacher Hu Shigen and I went to a room to negotiate with him.

Hu Shigen, another Christian at the scene on that day, described the situation at the scene: “At about 4:30 in the afternoon, our seminar was already half through, a police officer came with his police certificate.  He is an officer by the name of Chen from Nanhu Police Station of Chaoyang District of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.  He said he wanted to come in to book our information.  We didn’t let him enter.  Then, he broke through us and entered.  He booked the information of all of us and disturbed us continuously.  Finally, he booked everybody’s information and the seminar was thus dispersed.

According to the believers, since 2012, house churches in Beijing have held seminars on Cape  Town Commitment achieved at the Third Lausanne Congress.  The seminar held on Monday was the 6th seminar.  The previous five seminars were held peacefully.  People who attended the seminars notified each other on a small scale, so they didn’t catch much attention.

Entering the residence by force and book the information of the attendants.
According to Mr. Chu, over 10 people from various house churches of Beijing attended the seminar.  They called on Christian churches to follow the Lord, be humble, righteous and pious and do things according to some other Cape Town Commitments.  There are two parts to it, because we have already held six such seminars.

Reporter:  Was this activity organized by various churches or was it sponsored by Shouwang Church?

Answer:  It was organized by various churches.  We sent out invitations to various churches.  Whoever is interested in this seminar would attend it.

Hu Shigen criticized the Public Security for abusing its power: “When they want to enter a residence to book the information, a police officer’s certificate is not enough.  To enter a room, they must have a search warrant or a certificate of detention or an arrest warrant.  We think he doesn’t have this power.  He violated the safety of a citizen’s residence and his freedom of religion.”

Mr. Chu said that they would continue to have such seminars.  After they have discussed all the contents of Cape Town Call to Action, they will hold various type of seminars under the title “Lausanne Movement Forum.”

China Aid Association, a Christian human rights defense organization headquartered in Texas, USA, questions the conduct of Beijing police of harassing house churches.  It thinks entering a private residence without legal authorization and forcing citizens to book their personal information won’t help maintaining the stability of the society.

Shouwang Church continues to be under strict surveillance.

After the New Year’s Day of this year, there is a tendency that the Chinese authorities are increasingly interfering with the freedom of religion.  Since mid-April of 2011, believers of Shouwang Church of Beijing have been prohibited by the authorities to gather and worship outdoors.  Its pastor and other leaders are strictly placed at their homes and their freedom is restricted.  This radio station once reported that after Jin Tianming, the pastor of the church, led the believers in holding a prayer meeting a month ago, his right to go downstairs for a work-out has been canceled.  Five police officers are deployed at the hallways of his residence and they don’t let him go out of the building.

A believer told this reporter that at the eve of the Two Conferences (the National People’s Congress and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference), the situation of Jin Tianming has not improved: “It has always been like this.  There are always people guarding at his door and restricting his freedom.”

The above is an interview report by Qiao Long, a special reporter of Radio Free Asia.

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