Chinese churches join in the persecution of 'underground' believers
China’s official church system has joined with the state in the persecution of 'underground' churches, with the Shouwang Church in Beijing being targetted for its refusal to join the 'official' Three-Self church system.
report by Intercessors Network
In a development that shows the Chinese government’s determination to use all means available to bring one of Beijing’s largest house churches into compliance, representatives of the government’s Three-Self church system have taken part in the police interrogation of Shouwang Church members detained in the past two weeks for persisting in trying to hold outdoor worship services.
In Shouwang Church’s weekly report on the now 10-week stand-off with the authorities over a place for the church to meet, it said that “in the past two Sundays, Three-Self church personnel showed up at many police stations to persuade, ‘educate’ and even rebuke the imprisoned brothers and sisters in an attempt to get them to leave Shouwang Church and join one of the Three-Self churches or to ask us to unconditionally abandon our outdoor worship.”
One Shouwang member described on the church’s Buzz site his surprise that, in addition to the usual police and government interrogators, his interlocutors included someone “with deep knowledge about Christianity. For sure he knows much more about the Bible than I do, effortlessly and knowingly talking about Nebuchadnezzar and Ezekiel and so on.”
He said that while previous interrogations were focused on Shouwang’s refusal to join the government-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee’s church system, this time the discussion centered on loftier questions, including “the central issue” of whether what Shouwang is doing is in accordance with God’s will and Biblical teaching. “This surprised me greatly,” he wrote. “Perhaps this will be their approach from now on.”
At least two other Shouwang members encountered similar experiences with representatives of the Three-Self, according to information posted by church members on Shouwang’s Buzz site.
This clearly shows that the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee, which is ultimately controlled by the Communist Party, is directly involved in the government’s attempts to force Shouwang Church to give up trying to continue to meet as an intact 1,000-member-strong church while pursuing government registration as an independent church outside the official Three-Self church framework.