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    » 09/21/2012, 00.00


    Beijing's Shouwang Church denounces police repression

    The pastor of the congregation, the combative Jin Tianming, has laid a formal complaint to the authorities: officials arrested his people more than 1,600 times in 17 months, have prevented them from using the premises purchased for worship or hire others, have lobbied for the dismissal of his followers.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Church of Shouwang, one of the most influential unofficial Protestant congregations in China, has denounced the Beijing police for having prevented his followers from meeting to pray together for over a year. The pastor Jin Tianming submitted a request for an "administrative review", the term used to describe the ability of citizens to challenge governmental actions to the municipal government of the capital.

    The review, inspected and approved by one of the faithful of the church, was then posted on the Web.  In the text Jin accused the police of repressive policies towards the congregation, which can not move to its new home - a ' area of ​​about 5 thousand square meters purchased for 3.2 million euro - and can not rent another hall.

    In addition, the pastor complains that he was put under house arrest along with his followers and other Protestant leaders since last April 9, the day before a planned outdoor function. On that occasion, police detained 169 faithful, but despite this, every Sunday the congregation met the same.

    According to Jin's calculations, in the last 17 months the faithful of Shouwang were arrested more than 1600 times in 90 different police stations, and each time for more than 48 hours. In addition, 60 Christians have been forced to move house and have lost their jobs because of authorities' pressure : "It is a clear suppression of the right to religious freedom of citizens and the right of the church to practice its faith."

    The Church of Shouwang has over a thousand followers: in 2005 it requested registration, but was denied it by the state. In China only registered religious groups are allowed. But there are more unofficial Protestant Christians (about 80 million) than members of the official Three-Self Movement (20 million). For fear that the situation might slip from the Party's control, for almost five years there has been a campaign to eliminate the underground communities or merge them into the official community.



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    See also

    06/06/2011 CHINA
    Arrest of Shouwang Christians and other believers relentless
    Yesterday, 20 more members of the Church of Shouwang were arrested, some of their leaders are under house arrest for over two months. Beijing wants to suppress any religious activity outside the control of the Communist Party.

    16/05/2011 CHINA
    Persecution mounts against the Church of Shouwang
    Police yesterday arrested the faithful gathered in the square to pray for the 6th consecutive week. Dozens of followers are now under arrest at home every weekend. Meanwhile, dozens of the faithful are losing their job or home, under pressure from the authorities. But the case is becoming international.

    23/05/2011 CHINA
    Shouwang Christians will not give up, they pray in public and the police arrest them
    For the seventh consecutive Sunday, police arrest the faithful, including elderly and children, one only 2 years old. Experts say the authorities may ban the group and the incarcerate leader. Beijing seems determined to crush any dissent, particularly religious.

    27/02/2009 TIBET - CHINA
    Tibetan monk killed by Chinese police after setting himself on fire
    The monk Tapey poured gasoline on himself and set himself on fire while holding up a photo of the Dalai Lama and chanting slogans. He was shot three times, and died immediately. His body was taken away.

    23/03/2009 TIBET - CHINA
    A hundred Tibetan monks arrested after protesting death of another monk
    Tashi Sangpo, 28, had been jailed for flying the Tibetan flag. He jumped into a river, possibly in order to escape torture by the Chinese police. Fears over the further reprisals that the authorities could carry out in a country kept far from the eyes of the world.

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