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.
The police treated these young Christians in the same contemptible manner and with the same bad attitude as they treat the Christians who have been detained each Sunday from Shouwang’s designated outdoor worship site. They were finally released only after police from the local police stations of their respective neighborhoods came and transferred them to those local police stations, from where they were allowed to go home. It was 11 p.m. before the final detainee returned home.
Throughout the entire time, the Christians were level-headed, composed and calm in face of outrageously unjust treatment. The Beijing Domestic Security Protection Department, on the other hand, hid in the shadows playing dirty tricks.
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.