(AsiaNews) - Like every Sunday, police arrested members of Shouwang Church once
again either before or after the service. "Let us pray that they won't be like Pilate, and choose personal
interests over truth," and that they "will turn back to God and be freed from
wrote Rev Jin Tianming, the feisty clergyman in charge of one of the capital's Protestant
congregation, in an ad hoc newsletter released after the service on 21 July.
"It was a sunny
day. As far as we know, [. . .], at least thirty-four believers were taken away
from locations near the platform or from home. Some of them were released soon
after they were taken away, and the rest of them were detained at Zhongguancun
Street police station," Rev Jin's statement said.
this Sunday's sermon, God reminded us that we should pray for city management
officials, policemen, and auxiliary police in our country," he added. "They are
following orders to do evil, engaging in crime while being a victim of sin. Let
us pray that they won't be like Pilate, and choose personal interests over
truth, but will turn back to God and be freed from sin."
Church has more than a thousand members. In 2005, it tried to register with the
government but its request was dismissed.
April 2011, the faithful have been forced to meet in the street for Sunday
services, after the authorities banned them from several locations they had
tried to lease.
2009, the congregation bought a 1,500-m2 building to hold their
activities, but the authorities prevented them from using it. They followed
this by trying to use a private home and then a restaurant: each time the police
meeting they hold ends with a police raid, especially in summer.
2011, the Public Security Bureau set a record by arresting dozens of Christians
for seven consecutive Sundays. Despite this, there are always more than a
hundred people every time.
China, religious groups that register with the government are allowed to
operate. However, underground Protestant organisations have more members (80
million) than the official Three-Self Patriotic Movement (about 20 million).
the situation get out of hand, the Party has pursued a campaign for the past
five years designed to crush underground communities or force them to join the