Editor’s Note: For 14 Sundays in a row, police have forcibly detained any members of the 1,000-member Shouwang Church in Beijing who show up at an outdoor meeting place. The church’s leadership is under house address. Many members have lost their jobs, been evicted from their homes and forced to leave the Beijing area — as the Communist government blocks every effort of the church to hold services. What follows is a letter from a noted academic at the People’s University in Beijing, written to government officials, appealing on behalf of the church’s members.
TO: The leaders of the People’s Republic of China: Chairman Hu Jintao, Chairman Wu Bangguo, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and The Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee
FROM: Professor He Guanghu, People’s University, Beijing
RE: The Shouwang Church
On April 9, 2011, I sent you an appeal in my capacity as a scholar of religious affairs and as an ordinary citizen because on the following day Beijing Shouwang Church, which had been under persecution, was planning to hold an outdoor worship service. The personal rights and property rights of the members of this church had also been violated, and I expressed the hope that you would stop the persecution, reduce the clashes (and I also made two suggestions with regard to thoroughly resolving the current problems with Protestantism and Catholicism).
Since that day, the more than 10 pastors, elders and “Governing Committee” members of this church have been under forced “co-management” by the police and grassroots government and have not been allowed to leave their homes. Each of their homes has been guarded by several people, who are on duty day and night. Their family life and professional lives have been seriously harmed. These ten-plus people, good-hearted citizens who have committed no crime, have been deprived of their personal freedoms for more than three months even though there has been no trial and no conviction of any crime. And this continues today!