UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Police detain house church group
Harassment shows paranoia of authorities over religion, rights group says
- Mike MacLachlan, London
- April 19, 2011
Senior pastor Jin Tianming and pastor Li Xiaobai of the Shouwang Church were arrested on Saturday evening but Li was released the same night and Jin was returned home early Sunday morning.
Many members of the congregation were restricted to their homes on Sunday to prevent them attending the service. Of those who did attend, at least 30 were detained. But by yesterday evening all had been released
The service was held on the same site at Zhongguancun, a suburb of Beijing, where the congregation gathered on April 10. Then 169 worshippers were forced on to buses and taken away for questioning.
According to the British-based rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the church has had nowhere to meet since the landlord of the building it had used bowed to government pressure to prevent the congregation worshipping there.
A statement on the churchâ€™s Facebook page says: â€śMeeting outdoors is not an attempt to quarrel with the government.â€ť For several years, the church has conducted its activities openly, but an application for government registration in 2006 was rejected.
Like many other house churches in China, Shouwang operates in a legal grey area, CSW said yesterday. â€śThe law protects â€śnormalâ€ť religious activities, but those who choose to practise their religion outside the officially sanctioned state bodies are vulnerable to accusations of illegal activity,â€ť it added.
CSW condemned the police action. â€śThe continued harassment of Shouwang Church is indicative of the Chinese governmentâ€™s paranoia regarding religion,â€ť said advocacy director Andrew Johnston.
â€śCSW calls upon the Chinese government to adhere to the guarantees awarded to its citizens in the Chinese constitution, which allows for freedom of religion.â€ť