Was the Shouwang church right to meet publicly?

One article and one “sermon” (compliments of the Party) discussing the appropriateness of the Shouwang church’s decision to meet publicly in an ever-worsening climate. First, there’s a helpful overview of supporting and detracting positions in The Debate about Shouwang Church: “Even before some of its members were detained and leaders were put under informal house arrest last weekend, a vigorous debate about Shouwang Church in Beijing was going on both inside China and among Christians overseas.”

Then there’s The Global Times editorial: House churches cannot politicize religion. (The Global Times is the Party’s official English voice to the outside world; it’s a big-budget attempt at soft-power that is supposed to engage and compete with major English-language international news agencies to help ‘foreigners’ better understand and accept the official Chinese position. It’s infamous among lǎowàis for brilliantly achieving the exact opposite effect.)

4 thoughts on “Was the Shouwang church right to meet publicly?”

  1. In a very insightful work, The Brutal Truth About Asian Branding, Joseph Baladi reveals just what is wrong with the way not just Chinese companies, but the government, promotes China and Chinese products. The Government’s approach to handling relgious groups and political dissidents is clumsy and unfortunate and casts China in a very bad light overseas.

    Living in China I feel just as free to do what I like in my own country, Australia, but the way in which the government focuses on relativel unimportant issues like public chruch gatherings and ensure they become world-wide issues is simply beyond belief. What the Chinese Government needs is a top Public Relations company to manage their image and advise them against pursuing such ridiculous issues as church gatherings when most people are concerned about four major five major isses: inflation, house prices, traffic jams, nuclear pollution from Japan and, of course, corruption.

  2. My read on it is that the authorities will not tolerate any organization/gathering that is (a) potentially influential, (b) not administered/controlled at some level by the gov., and (c) displays an allegiance to anything higher than the CCP/gov. authorities. That’s why they’re willing to let a lot of technically illegal (“b” in my list above) stuff slide, just so long as it stays well-marginalized and out of the public consciousness. If they have to allow it legally, they have the control to keep them so marginalized that they pretty much stay off the radar of the average citizen, which is what I see happening with the legal, state-sanctioned churches. Shouwang gets three strikes on (a), (b) and (c).

  3. I plan a working holiday in China soon but with no knowledge of the language will need help finding economical housing travel Etc.In fact I’m a retired builder having done plumbing concreting,brickwork,& even a little electrical & would be happy to work voluntary on churches,orphanages needing help Etc,

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