On Sunday, for the second week in a row, the police rounded up scores of parishioners [of the Beijing-based Shouwang Protestant Church] who tried to pray outdoors at a public plaza. Most of the church’s leadership is now in custody or under house arrest. Its Web site has been blocked.
Even after years of economic détente, China remains a dictatorial hellhole for those whose opinions and beliefs differ from the loathsome Beijing sekretariat (see also the recent arrest and disappearance of the artist Ai Weiwei and several members of his entourage). As an atheist, this is one church I’d gladly donate to or support in other ways — partly on the principle of it, and partly just to piss off the creeps in high places who seem to have learned very little since the slaughter at Tiananmen.
Rogier is a Dutch-born, New-England-dwelling multi-media maven (OK, a writer and photographer) whose dead-tree publishing credits include the New York Times, Wired, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Reason.