“Before there was persecution. Now there is pressure” said an elder from Beijing’s Shouwang church in private conversation in autumn this year. He was optimistic about the group’s future. Yet by the time the winter snow arrived, the 700-strong congregation was holding its meetings outside, young and old wrapped up in down jackets against the freezing snow. The landlord of the office building used by the church had been pressured by government officials not to rent to them. The group left voluntarily, not wishing to put the landlord in a difficult situation. They now have no where to go.
In Shanghai, Wanbang church, with 1,200 members, was evicted from its building just over a month ago and the group’s leaders have been regularly interrogated. According to China Aid, they are defying pressure by continuing to meet in a park, though their services are disrupted and filmed by “secret” police (who stand in full view with amateur video cameras).