Christians of various house churches in Beijing held a joint seminar on Monday of this week so that they could give their opinions on the Cape Town Commitment achieved at the Third Lausanne Congress. However, the seminar was harassed by the Public Security Bureau when a police officer booked by force the ID information of the attendants. The seminar was forced to stop. Besides this, Pastor Jin Tianming of Shouwang Church has been placed under house arrest for over two years and at this time he still does not have the freedom of movement.
Hu Shigen, another Christian at the scene on that day, described the situation at the scene: “At about 4:30 in the afternoon, our seminar was already half through, a police officer came with his police certificate. He is an officer by the name of Chen from Nanhu Police Station of Chaoyang District of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. He said he wanted to come in to book our information. We didn’t let him enter. Then, he broke through us and entered. He booked the information of all of us and disturbed us continuously. Finally, he booked everybody’s information and the seminar was thus dispersed.
According to the Christians, since 2012 house churches in Beijing have held seminars on Cape Town Commitment achieved at the Third Lausanne Congress. The seminar held on Monday was the 6th seminar. The previous five seminars were held peacefully. People who attended the seminars notified each other on a small scale, so they didn’t catch much attention.
Hu Shigen criticized the Public Security for abusing its power: “When they want to enter a residence to book the information, a police officer’s certificate is not enough. To enter a room, they must have a search warrant or a certificate of detention or an arrest warrant. We think he doesn’t have this power. He violated the safety of a citizen’s residence and his freedom of religion.”
Mr. Chu said that they would continue to have such seminars. After they have discussed all the contents of Cape Town Call to Action, they will hold various type of seminars under the title “Lausanne Movement Forum.”
China Aid Association, a Christian human rights defense organization headquartered in Texas, USA, questions the conduct of Beijing police of harassing house churches. It thinks entering a private residence without legal authorization and forcing citizens to book their personal information won’t help maintaining the stability of the society.
Shouwang Church continues to be under strict surveillance.
After the New Year’s Day of this year, there is a tendency that the Chinese authorities are increasingly interfering with the freedom of religion. Since mid-April of 2011, believers of Shouwang Church of Beijing have been prohibited by the authorities to gather and worship outdoors. Its pastor and other leaders are strictly placed at their homes and their freedom is restricted. This radio station once reported that after Jin Tianming, the pastor of the church, led the believers in holding a prayer meeting a month ago, his right to go downstairs for a work-out has been canceled. Five police officers are deployed at the hallways of his residence and they don’t let him go out of the building.
A Christian man told reporter that at the eve of the Two Conferences (the National People’s Congress and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference), the situation of Jin Tianming has not improved: “It has always been like this. There are always people guarding at his door and restricting his freedom.”