At the beginning of March, authorities in Zhejiang demanded that Three-Self Churches install surveillance cameras and have been dispatching officials to forcibly set up the devices if the order meets with refusal. Officially, the reasoning for the cameras are “safety” and “anti-terrorism” precautions. They also said they would take into account whether or not the church had previously resisted cross demolitions during a province-wide campaign and would send more agents to the site if it had.
From 21-24 March, hundreds of police officers converged on Changlin Church in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, in order to carry out this task, beating any Christians who resisted their efforts.
A local Christian said the church members questioned why they needed additional surveillance since Three-Self Churches are already heavily monitored and policed by the government. Some Christian women stationed themselves outside the church, fearing a possible church demolition, and were seized for their resistance, then released once the cameras were set up. Officials also destroyed the church’s reception desk and other parts of the building, including the church’s gate.
On 23 March Shengai Church in Pingyang County, Wenzhou, issued a statement accusing the government of violating the privacy, disrupting the internal affairs of religious organisations, and breaking laws by installing the cameras. The church claimed the government had no legal basis for these actions, saying that it needs to obtain the permission of the church or would otherwise result in an abuse of power and religious freedom.
Source: China Aid
- May the members of these churches continue to make the most of every opportunity to attend church, to encourage one another and worship the Lord. May the Lord use these cameras for the benefit of those watching.
- Pray for the pastors and church leaders, may God grant them wisdom when dealing with authorities.
- Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of His church in China. Pray it will continue to grow in number and dedication to our Lord.