Surveillance cameras have been installed at Three-Self churches in mainland China to ensure that parishioners are worshipping according to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regulations.
Reports of the church surveillance were reported by Bitter Winter in Xinmi, a city in Henan province, south central China.
“The church has HD cameras inside and outside: Twenty were installed in December, and an additional similar amount recently,” a Three-Self church director in Xinmi, told Bitter Winter. “Such cameras will be installed in every church throughout the county.”
The director added that 15 and seven cameras had been installed at churches in the nearby villages of Chugou and Litang, respectively.
“On top of monitoring if minors or party members visit churches, the government’s main purpose in installing cameras is to control believers and check on preachers’ sermons,” the director said. “The government seeks to eradicate Christianity gradually.”
Bitter Winter reported over 100 cameras were installed in Three-Self churches across Linyl, a city in the eastern costal province of Shadong, to surveil worship activities.
In July, a Three-Self True Jesus Church preacher from Henan’s Nanyang city was arrested and interrogated after discovering three cameras installed by the local Religious Affairs Bureau had been unplugged.
An employee at that church told Bitter Winter the church leader had turned off the cameras to stop the constant government surveillance.
Three-Self churches are overseen by the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China. They are a part of the Three Self Patriotic Movement which has long stressed the need to cut ties with foreign Christian organizations, while church members are expected to adhere to the dictates of the CCP.