Although China has an official policy stipulating freedom of religion, its atheist government frowns upon worship and imposes strict controls on faith. Religious groups have to have official approval to gather and face the threat of being closed down and evicted from their places of worship. The Shouwang Church is considered “unofficial,” as it has not been recognized by the government despite having sought registration since 2006.
Is there anything American faith leaders can, or should be, doing about this denial of freedom? And given America's close economic relations with China, is there anything you think the U.S. government should be doing?
I don't think China gives two chopsticks about America's opinion with regard to its policies. America is deeply in debt to China, and as such doesn't have a whole lot of leverage. But Christians here are forever objecting and denouncing China's oppression to no avail.
I believe China currently provides three Christian church options. One is to attend officially sanctioned state churches where lots of people assemble. We might consider them theologically milquetoast at best, or politically propagandist at worst. State operatives sit in as observers, ensuring no negative illustrations of corrupt government find their way into the sermons and that Caesar comes off well when Jesus is quoted. Parishioners realize it's censored but they'll acquiesce rather than have to meet their savior in person prematurely.
Another sort of church is that provided for foreigners. These too are monitored, but mostly for attendance. Citizens are not allowed, and papers are checked at the door. Christian tourists who desire a worship experience more than a cultural one will be there, and ministers can generally preach sound doctrine, or so I'm told.