|A government demolition crew removes a cross from a different
church in Wenzhou, Dajing Church, on March 10, 2016. (Photo:
Members of Tuanqian Village Church in Rui’an, a county-level city in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, spoke with reporters on June 4, saying that after their church refused to install government surveillance equipment, they lost power and water to several buildings associated with the church.
The leaders of the church believe they may need to relent and install the cameras.
“I heard that the church leaders are about to give up their resistance because the wires in the director’s factory were cut off,” an anonymous church member said. “The wires of the church leaders’ houses were damaged as well. [They have targeted] both the private residence and a factory. It’s too much pressure. They are about to give in.”
Tuanqian Village Church has approximately 600 members. After the extended surveillance campaign, church leaders believe they are the only church with no surveillance cameras in Rui’an.
“The church is giving up resistance, but they have not installed the cameras yet. At the very least, they will not open the door and invite the government workers in.”
Another church in Rui’an, Shayuan Village Church, lost power until they also agreed to install cameras.
A member of that church said, “Shayuan Church was powerless. The church members were forced to give in. The officials threatened to demolish an ‘illegal’ construction behind the director’s house, and in order to do that, they would have had to remove the entire building first. The church members compromised. They told the subdistrict office: ‘Come and install [the cameras]. That’s what they said. They had no choice.”
The church member said that even after the installation, the church’s power was still disconnected for a week afterward.
On May 24, Gesan Village Church in Rui’an received a notice from the Nanbin Subdistrict Fire Safety Committee claiming the church had “potential fire safety hazards” and as a result, power and water were being cut off. Three days later, the church allowed surveillance equipment to be installed. Church members said they were worried that they would be forced to hang Chinese flags in their church and censor their pastors’ sermons.
ChinaAid reports on house churches in Wenzhou and the ongoing camera installation campaign in order to expose government abuses against Christians and promote religious freedom and rule of law.