China Detains Underground Church Followers

Police have again detained followers of Shouwang church, an underground house church in Beijing. Last weekend, more than 100 worshippers were detained by police during a service, but most were later released. From AFP:

Police late Saturday also detained Jin Tianming, a senior pastor of Beijing’s Shouwang church, an unregistered Protestant congregation, and other church leaders before releasing them early Sunday, the US-based China Aid group said.

Jin’s detention came after the church called for an outdoor worship meeting following a similar gathering last Sunday that resulted in police rounding up nearly 170 church followers, most of whom were later released.

The action against the church comes amid a growing crackdown on dissent across China in which artists, lawyers, writers, activists and intellectuals have been detained for allegedly calling for “Jasmine” rallies, similar to those that have rocked the Arab world.

The Shouwang church, one of Beijing’s largest “underground” churches, was forced outdoors after the government blocked the rental of its previous place of worship and prevented it from buying a new meeting place, China Aid said.