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ICC Note

Chinese officials have forcibly installed cameras in many Protestant churches throughout their country. This allows authorities to be constantly watching the activities of the church. This is a major abuse of the limited religious freedom in China, and people have compared China to North Korea and Vietnam in the declining religious freedom. This type of practice demonstrates the direct persecution Christians face in China.

2017-05-25 China (RFA) Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang are engaged in a province-wide operation that has installed surveillance cameras in the majority of Protestant Christian churches in a region known as “China’s Jerusalem.”

Officials have forcibly entered church buildings to install cameras in some cases where church followers have offered resistance to the plan, and have intervened to cut off water and electricity to others, sources told RFA.

On Wednesday, authorities cut off public utilities to a Protestant Christian church near Wenzhou that refused to allow police to install surveillance cameras on its premises, church members told RFA.

Under the guise of “health and safety” regulations, authorities cut off utilities to the church in Rui’an Gesan village in Zhejiang’s Wenzhou city on Wednesday.

“They came and cut off our church this morning,” a church member who declined to be named said. “It’s because we refused to have surveillance cameras here; they kept ordering us to install them and we kept on refusing.”

“Several of the ladies in the church blocked their access, so they took these measures [against us].”

Video of the standoff showed a number of women grabbing hold of equipment carried by uniformed police, and a worker on a ladder at the top of an electricity pylon, apparently switching off the supply to the building.

Access to water and electricity is controlled by the grass-roots “neighborhood committees” under the ruling Chinese Communist Party, so the church would need the agreement of local officials before being reconnected, the member said.

 

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