The church was in and out of venues between May 2010 and March 2011. When their landlord at the time refused to renew their lease, the church resolved to hold outdoor worship services, beginning on April 10, 2011, in Beijing’s Haidan Park.
Shouwang Church has continued to meet in Haidan Park since 2011 with hundreds of attendees—including government officers who routinely take a number of Christians into custody. Those who are detained during the church’s Sunday services are sometimes released after several hours but are more often placed under administrative detention for “disturbing public order,” with first-time detainees receiving a sentence of 5-7 days and repeat detainees receiving a 10-day sentence.
In 2014 alone, approximately 100 church members were administratively detained, and more than 10 were beaten by police. Many of the church’s pastors have been under house arrest for years.
The church applied for government permission to register as a Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) church in 2006 under the condition that the church retain some authority, specifically the authority to choose to continue to have God as the center of the church rather than the Communist Party of China, but the government denied the request.
Many church members have faced the loss of their homes and jobs due to official pressure towards the Christians’ landlords and employers.
Despite the continuous persecution Shouwang Church has endured, church members said in a 2014 letter that they “solemnly declare here[in] that Shouwang Church will never flinch just because the government departments take severe administrative measures against us.”