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10/30/2020 Hong Kong (International Christian Concern) – Beijing has extended its surveillance and harassment to anyone residing in other countries who is considered anti-China. In a webinar held yesterday, a Canadian priest originally from Hong Kong shared how the Chinese government mobilized protesters to harass his church.

In the October 26 webinar titled “Mao vs. God: State Control of Churches in China under Xi” held by Cardus Religious Freedom Institute, Father Richard Soo told the audience that the Chinese authorities are interfering religious activities in Canada – they have organized groups of people to surround his church and sent people to take picture of his parishioners during mass.

Father Soo is an immigrant from Hong Kong to Canada, who has been vocal in supporting democracy and freedom after Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement took place in 2014. Last summer, his church often held ecumenical prayer meetings for Hong Kong people. To his surprise, one Sunday in August, his church’s parking lot was packed with people who were waving the Chinese national flags, looking for them. He believes that they were mobilized by the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver.

The sight frightened nearby neighbors so the police was called in to safely escort Father Soo and his parishioners out from the church.

The following Sunday, a stranger visited his church and took picture of everyone’s faces. To him, it is something that he did not expect to see in Canada. “Suddenly, when you are surrounded by people [who are] threatening you, it becomes very unsafe. When your parish on a Sunday morning liturgy, someone infiltrates, and starts taking pictures of everybody, you feel very unsafe,” he said.

“You think, ‘What am I gonna do?’ Are they going to vandalize the church? Are they going to do something worse – are they going to threaten the parishioners? Are they going to spread false rumors about me?” he added.

While these measures taken by the Chinese government is not unfamiliar to people of faith in China, it is alarming that Beijing is now exporting its surveillance overseas to intimidate the Chinese diaspora, especially those who disagree with Beijing’s policies.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].