Chinese authorities detained a
member of one of Beijing’s largest unregistered churches on Monday and sent him to his hometown in Shandong Province, sources
Three officers from Beijing’s Dongsheng police
station detained the Shouwang church member at about 5 p.m. while he was
at a market to get a mobile phone fixed, they said. They handed him
over to a Shandong office based in the capital, which sent him to his
hometown that evening. He was the second member of the church to be
expelled from the city since authorities allegedly compelled the owners
of the church’s rented facility to stop leasing to the congregation in
April, forcing them to meet outdoors the past three months.
same Dongsheng police station in Beijing’s northwest Haidian district
sent the first Shouwang member to be expelled from Beijing to his
hometown in Hubei Province on May 8, sources said.
Monday’s expulsion, the Shouwang member was forbidden to use his mobile
phone, but at noon yesterday he was sent to his parents’ home and was
able to send a text message to church members. He said his identity card
was confiscated, and he was warned not to return to Beijing before July
1, the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of
China. Authorities told local village officials to monitor him.
In the church’s weekly statement issued yesterday, Shouwang Church leaders said they had filed a protest against the expulsion.
forced expatriation by Dongsheng Police Station and Haidian Public
Security Bureau has constituted a complete contempt for and a flagrant
violation of the law, in effect depriving a citizen of any guarantee of
the most basic of foundational existential rights,” the statement read.
first expulsion of a Shouwang member came after the church held a fifth
consecutive Sunday of outdoor worship. At least 15 people were taken to
10 police stations across Beijing on May 8. All were released within
24 hours, except one who was jailed at Dongsheng police station for 48
hours and then turned over to the Wuhan municipal governmental office in
Beijing. Wuhan is the capital of Hubei Province, where the household of
the detained Shouwang member was registered.
previous detentions, he had already been forced to quit his job as an
instructor at an international school for children under three years old. As
he had lived at the school office, he also lost his lodging.
church member on May 10 told a contact by phone that he had been sent
to Wuhan’s Beijing office from the police station earlier that day.
Police ordered the office to buy a train ticket for his return to Hubei,
he said. Police confiscated his identity card, later telling him that
they could not find it. They told him to go to Hubei to apply for a new
The detained Christian later told another church
member by phone that he wanted to see his parents and his maternal
grandmother, and that he also wanted to rest after being detained four
times for having attended five Sunday outdoor worship services.
a police officer from the Wuhan Public Security Bureau based in
Beijing’s Wuhan office, he took a train to Hubei’s provincial capital on
the evening of May 11. More than 20 Shouwang congregants went to the
Beijing West Railway Station to see him off, praying hand-in-hand and
singing a hymn in the waiting area of the station.
Shouwang member and the police officer arrived in Wuhan the next
morning, then went to his hometown in Hubei. After having lunch, the
police officer returned to Wuhan. On May 16, two local police officers
came to the church member’s home asking for basic information on his
family. He returned to Beijing in mid-June and has continued to attend
outdoor worship, being detained every Sunday since.
of Shouwang parishioners have been detained or confined to their homes
on Sundays as well as weekdays since April 10. Some church members have
lost their jobs or rented homes, or both. They are mostly young
professionals working at companies or universities.
April 10, the Shouwang congregation had gathered in a conference hall
of the Old Story Club in the northern area of Beijing for more than a
year. But according to Shouwang Church leaders, the owner of the rented
venue was under mounting pressure from the government.
March, Shouwang planned to rent a conference hall of a hotel in the
northwest of the city, but the church said some government agencies
again interfered and prevented it from renting the new premises.
Church first started as a family Bible study group in 1993. By 2005,
Shouwang, which means “keeping watch,” had more than 10 fellowships. At
that time, the church decided to apply to register with the government.
But in 2006, authorities rejected Shouwang’s application, asking it to
join the official Three-Self Patriotic Movement church.
late 2009, Shouwang paid about 27 million yuan (about $4 million)
for the second floor of the Daheng Science and Technology Tower in
northwest Beijing’s Zhongguancun area, known as “China’s Silicon
Valley.” Funding came from the Shouwang congregation and other
contributors for the purchase of a permanent worship place. Authorities
once again interfered, according to church leaders, and the property
developer refused to hand the key over to the church.
Church had more than 1,000 worshippers each Sunday before the outdoor
worship began in April. It still has dozens of family groups and
In a related development, China Aid
Association reported that two women from another Beijing
house church, Shuangshu Church, were planning to join Shouwang’s
outdoor worship service on Sunday, but police prevented
them from leaving their home. Their landlord later came to pressure them
to move out, according to CAA.
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