Asia

Why Beijing's Largest House Church Refuses to Stop Meeting Outdoors

Shouwang vows to continue showdown until Christmas in hopes of ending Achilles' heel of unregistered churches: government pressure on landlords.

Editor's note: As worldwide headlines noted the Easter season showdown between Beijing authorities and one of China's largest house churches, one Shouwang member offered Christianity Today this analysis.

The global media spotlight has recently centered on the meeting place of Shouwang Church in Beijing. Since April 10, the unregistered congregation of 1,000 mostly young professionals has been forced to worship outdoors after the landlord of its rented conference hall gave in to mounting government pressure and terminated the church's lease.

During the past three Sundays, numerous uniformed and plainclothes police officers were sent to a public square at Zhongguancun, known as "China's Silicon Valley," where Shouwang worshipers were supposed to gather. Hundreds of Shouwang members were detained, from a few hours to 48 hours. They worshiped—reading the Bible, singing hymns, and praying—after being loaded onto buses or held in police stations. Many others have been under house arrest. ...

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