EXCERPT: Chinese police on Sunday detained more than 100 churchgoers who tried to hold an outdoor prayer service on a pedestrian bridge in Beijing after having failed to secure permission to open a church.

Although it is not uncommon for police to raid unregistered churches, this latest bust in the very heart of Beijing suggests that the dragnet around activists, bloggers, lawyers and intellectuals has been expanded to Christian groups that in the past were able to slide under the radar.

The 8-year-old Shouwang Church, with a congregation of about 1,000, was popular among young professionals and academics, but in recent years had complained that the government pressured landlords not to rent space in various hotels and office buildings where they wanted to hold services.

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