Date: July 15, 2017
Disputes over government surveillance devices in house churches have escalated since early March in China’s coastal Zhejiang as officials cut power and water supplies to several churches and the homes of church leadership.
Recently, authorities declared that all government-run Three Self churches in the Wenzhou area were required to install cameras in their buildings. Many of the churches refused, fearing censorship would follow the monitoring. After demolitions and hospitalizations, the government began shutting off water and electricity to churches that resisted.
Gesan Village Church received a notice of false fire hazards on May 24, followed by cuts to power and water to their building. Though they purchased a diesel generator to try to continue holding services, they were forced to relent three days later.
“The church is giving up resistance, but have not installed the cameras yet,” one member said. “At the very least, they won’t open the door and invite government workers in.”
Shayuan Church was also cut off, and their amenities weren’t restored until a week after they installed cameras. Tuanqian Village Church was similarly targeted on June 4, the last church in the area to hold out. They were also forced to install the cameras after authorities cut off power and water at church leaders’ houses.