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Beijing police halt house church service

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Chinese police officers watch an area near a building that leaders of the unregistered Shouwang house church had told parishioners to gather in Beijing, China, Sunday, April 10, 2011. Beijing police on Sunday detained at least a dozen worshippers from the Christian house church who were trying to hold services in a public space after they were evicted from their usual place of worship. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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BEIJING >> Beijing police on Sunday detained at least a dozen worshippers from a Christian house church who were trying to hold services in a public space after they were evicted from their usual place of worship.

Leaders of the unregistered Shouwang house church had told parishioners to gather at an open-air venue in Beijing for Sunday morning services, but police, apparently alerted to their plans, taped off the area and took away people who showed up to take part.

About a dozen people were escorted by police onto an empty city bus and driven away.

Christians in China are required to worship in state-run churches, but house churches are becoming increasingly popular, despite being technically illegal and subject to police harassment.

Shouwang had been holding services in a Beijing restaurant until last week, when they were evicted from that venue.

One parishioner who evaded police told The Associated Press that no one made it to the open-air mezzanine where services were to take place. The man would give only his English name, Kane, for fear of police reprisals.

 

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