May 24, 2019

Police crackdown in China prevents Easter church service

Christian's worshipping in public. A rare site after a government crackdown over Easter.

Police in China have blocked over 500 worshippers from attending a Christian service for Easter at one of China’s largest “house” churches in Beijing.

More than 50 people have been placed under house arrest, in what is the biggest crackdown in Christian worship in 20 years.

Hundreds of uniformed and plain-clothed police officers swarmed around the Shouwang Church site to prevent any worshippers who evaded the initial police crackdown getting to the church on time.

Jin Tianming the Senior Pastor of Shouwang Church is one of those under house arrest. He remains defiant though saying “we will not change our plans. We will not change our decision to worship as this is a matter of faith.”

Over the past month, more than 200 Shouwang churchgoers have been arrested and detained, according to the church. The leaders of the church remain under house arrest amid a wider government crackdown on dissidents throughout China over the past three months.

The “house” churches in China operate outside of the officially sanctioned Chinese church. As such they are are often lumped in with all other dissidents and persecuted.

The authorities had decreed that regular church services at “house” churches must cease over the Easter period.

Usually hundreds of worshippers gather each week for services at the Shouwang church which meets outdoors after the authorities blocked the rental of the church’s previous office space in November. It is no surprise that the church has been unable to find alternative accommodation since.

Newswarped marvels at the insecurity of China’s leaders. They are happy to embrace the pandora’s box of unbridled economic development, yet they are afraid of a few hundred Christians who are peaceful citizens.