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06/20/2012 China (ChinaAid) – The continued persecution of Shouwang Church, which has been meeting outdoors for 14 months in defiance of an official crackdown, took a new turn this past weekend, with security authorities preventing young church members from using campus basketball courts.

On Saturday morning, Shouwang’s Youth Fellowship and Student Fellowship met, as is their custom, at the basketball court on the campus of Beijing Institute of Technology to play basketball. But, to their surprise, they found the courts closed. They went next to the gymnasium of Beijing Normal University. But soon after they arrived, the basketball court there was also closed. That’s when they noticed that they had been tailed by Domestic Security Protection agents.

So the Christian young people started playing a shuttlecock-kicking game, but almost immediately campus security guards rushed over to stop them. The guards surrounded the Christians and seized the groups’ “Shouwang Youth Fellowship vs Student Fellowship Basketball Game” banner. The fierce fight over the banner ended in a standoff.

The Christians reported the incident to the police, and officers from the Beitaipingzhuang police station arrived on the scene. Several of the young people followed the police back to the station, wanting to regain possession of their banner. But not only did the police refuse to return the banner, they even required the eight Christians who had recounted what had happened to submit to long sessions of formal questioning that were recorded by a stenographer.

Nonetheless, Shouwang Church members showed up as usual Sunday morning at the designated outdoor meeting site in Beijing’s Haidian District. Sixteen people were taken by police from the Zhonggang Plaza and taken to the Zhongguancun and Laiguangying police stations for questioning. The last of the detainees was released at 3 p.m.

We ask churches everywhere to pray for these brothers and sisters from Shouwang who have faithfully shown up for outdoor worship for so long. Beijing’s summer is heating up. Whether they worshipping outdoors or detained in a police station, may the Lord Jesus Christ grant them an extra measure of strength and courage so that they may continue to fight this spiritual battle.

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