Members of the Shouwang house church continue to face
harassment from Beijing authorities. Most recently, security officials denied the
church’s student group access to two sports facilities in Beijing. The 1,000-plus
members of the Shouwang Church have been meeting outdoors for 14 months, in
protest against officials who have prevented them from purchasing or renting
facilities for a worship space.
The student group met on Saturday morning, June 16, to play
basketball on the campus of the Beijing Institute of Technology, just as they
had been for some time. But when they arrived at the court, they were surprised
to find it closed. They moved on to the gymnasium at Beijing Normal University,
but soon after their arrival that basketball court was also closed. That’s when
they noticed they were being followed by security agents.
Since they couldn’t play basketball, the group decided
instead to play a kicking game on an open grass space. Almost immediately,
campus security guards approached to stop them. They surrounded the Christians
and seized a banner they were carrying, which read “Shouwang Youth Fellowship
vs. Student Fellowship Basketball Game.” The students resisted and reported the
incident to police, but the police simply confiscated the banner.
Eight members of the youth group went to the police station
to retrieve the banner, but police refused to return it. Instead, they questioned
the young people at length and recorded their answers. The eight were then escorted
home by police officers from their respective neighborhood precincts. The final
detainee wasn’t able to return home until 11 p.m.
The following morning, Shouwang Church members arrived as
usual at their outdoor worship location in Beijing’s Haidian district, and, as
usual, several were detained by police for questioning.
Shouwang expects to continue meeting outdoors, even through
the hot summer months.
Source: China Aid Association
Posted: June 29, 2012