Shouwang Church takes legal action against cops for religious persecution
After 17 months of having members arrested and even beaten, the Shouwang Church of Beijing is taking its case to the courts and seeking legal action against the police. The case probably has little chance of making headway, but this hasn’t deterred the leaders of the Shouwang church, many of whom have been locked up under house arrest for more than a year. According to the article church members have been detained 1,600 times at 90 different police stations in the last 17 months for trying to meet outdoors after the church was forced from the building it had just purchased for over $4 million US dollars.
By Verna Yu
09/21/2012 China (South China Morning Post)- Shouwang Church, one of the mainland's most influential unofficial Protestant churches, has taken legal action against Beijing police for preventing its congregation from worshipping for more than a year.
The church's pastor, Jin Tianming, last Friday filed an application for an "administrative review" - a legal step that enables citizens to contest government actions - with the Beijing municipal government. A church elder verified the authenticity of the content of the application, which was posted online.
In the document, Jin accused police of barring the church from moving into a 16,000 sq ft office space it had bought for more than 26 million yuan (HK$32 million) and preventing it from renting another worship venue. He complained that police had illegally confined him and other church leaders at home since April 9 last year - a day before the church attempted to worship outdoors - and harassed many of its worshippers.
Police detained 169 worshippers at that outdoor service and every Sunday since, scores have continued to show up in defiance of the government.
Jin said in the application that members of Shouwang's congregation had been detained more than 1,600 times at 90 police stations, each time for up to 48 hours over the past year and five months. More than 60 people had been forced to move house and quit their jobs under government pressure.
"This is obviously repression of citizens' religious freedom and the church's right to practise its faith," Jin wrote.