Over the past eight years, we have been reporting on numerous incidents of hardship faced by members of the Shouwang Church in Beijing, one of the most prominent unregistered churches in the country. On March 23rd, the police moved in to completely shut down and liquidate the church. For a list of previous reports, click here.
The church, which has encountered mounting pressure to join the official Three-Self Church since 2004, was forced to meet outdoors since April 2011. Over the years, the pressure of persecution caused the membership to dwindle to less than 100 congregants. As a final act to shut down the church, government officials accused the church leadership of refusing to register as a "social organization."
Students meeting for Bible classes affiliated with the ministry were interrogated and then informed that the church was officially shut down. Various subsidiary organizations were also closed and all of the church's assets were seized. The pastor, Jin Tianming, who has been under house arrest since 2011, is experiencing increased restrictions. This includes not being permitted to leave his apartment, even to go to another part of the building.
Please uphold Pastor Jin in your prayers, along with other members of the Shouwang Church who are now facing increasing uncertainty. May the Lord mediate on their behalf, and also for the sake of other believers who are experiencing opposition. Intercede for the authorities involved, praying that they will ease their ongoing campaign against religious groups in China and instead respectfully consider the rights of all citizens.