• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Chinese Officials Seek to Drive Lighthouse Church Underground

    On Easter Sunday in Washington, D.C., thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the annual sunrise service. The freedom to gather at this public monument and for churches across America to hold outdoor sunrise services is a freedom we often take for granted.

    Not so in China. The Shouwang (“Lighthouse”) Church in Beijing is one of the most well-known of “house” churches, which are not officially sanctioned by the communist government. Started in 1993, the church now has 1,000 members. As The New York Times recently reported:

    Shouwang, according to China’s officially atheist Communist Party leadership, is technically illegal. … Evicted yet again from its meeting place by the authorities, Shouwang announced this month that its congregants would worship outside rather than disband or go back underground. Its demands were straightforward but bold: allow the church to take possession of the space it had legally purchased. Officials responded with a clenched fist.

    After the second outdoor meeting, on Palm Sunday, almost all of the church leadership was placed in “custody or under house arrest.” But that didn’t stop the church from proceeding with plans to meet outside again to celebrate Easter.

    Authorities were there to meet them on Easter Sunday. According to Voice of America, 500 members—or half the church—was put under house arrest.

    The Shouwang congregation’s recent experiences are not isolated. Last year, according to China Aid, more than 3,000 house church members were beaten or detained. As The New York Times explains:

    The move against Shouwang, as well as other house churches, coincides with the most expansive assault on dissent in China in years, one that has led to the arrests of high-profile critics like the artist Ai Weiwei, but also legions of little-known bloggers, rights lawyers and democracy advocates who have disappeared into the country’s opaque legal system. The crackdown, now in its second month, was prompted by government fears that the Arab revolts against autocracy could spread to China and undermine the Communist Party’s six-decade hold on power.

    The friction will likely continue, in view of these facts noted by The Wall Street Journal on Monday:

    According to the Pew Research Center, between 50 million and 70 million Chinese worship in house churches, and more than 25 million worship in state-sanctioned Catholic and Protestant churches. The Communist Party, by comparison, has around 60 million members.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Chinese Officials Seek to Drive Lighthouse Church Underground

    1. WesternCowgirl says:

      And where was our President yesterday? Well, let me see. He had to go to Chicago to tape a show with Oprah Winfrey, and then he had three fund raisers for his re-election campaign! No "silliness" for this guy!!!!

      Boy I sure am glad he took care of the national crisis over his birth certificate because without that monumental job taken care of, the United States would have defaulted on its bill. Oh no, I got that wrong . . . that has to do with the debt ceiling!

    2. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Thanks Jennifer Marshall, they don't get these News Stories on the Three Blind Mice! (ABC, NBC and CBS) I guess State Socialism is so wonderful the Demo-crats can't bear it! Considering they are unlawfully promoting State Socialism for America! Come to think of it, American Christians are all kinds of 'under the gun' from Government! Maybe if they told the China Story it would cut too close to home!

      I come off sometimes as a China Defender. I am still tickled how China embraced Free Enterprise. I am impressed how China has become a contender by letting their People have just a modicum of Economic Freedom. Hey! In China you can accumulate Capital! That is raw freedom. We have a Captive Media, our Entrepreneurs are so ham strung that Government makes more money from our work than we do! We can hope China learns the Futility of Policing Speech, the Futility of Policing Religion! Since our own Government Officials are a bunch of atheists? Since we have a Government Established Religion of Humanism? We lost our High Ground in the argument with China!

      You could argue China would be a failed State, were it not for America! So the fact is Socialism doesn't work in China either! These Bums in Government are propping up every failed State on Earth! Add Brazil? (We know their leader is Marxist, hurry up and get ready to prop up Brazil!) I am sorry for Christians in China! I am more sorry for our own Christians, where belief in God is symptomatic of Mental Illness! (Really! This is true!)

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×