On May 26, the pastor of a Chinese church stated that police secretly installed security cameras to monitor their activities. According to a report, the police tried to force him to stop preaching and spreading the gospel. Pastor Ma Chao of the Guangfu house church told China Aid he was heading to a prayer meeting when he noticed three cameras outside directly pointing at the main entrance.
"Four police officers came, saying that they were investigating the church's gathering. Two of them said we were not allowed to meet," Ma said. "I was not present at the time, but pastor Wu, along with another pastor and elders were there."
The report stated that Ma has been repeatedly harassed by the local authorities as he and his wife were blocked from leaving their building due to coronavirus.
International Christian Concern reported that the church members asked the police for their identification and for the reason behind their visit but were refused. Ma believes that the police are meant to threaten him and push him out of Guangzhou.
"A police officer said that his uniform is the ID,"
"They also took pictures of the church's Bibles, hymnbooks, and said that this is where Ma Chao has his illegal gathering, so they came specifically for it."
Although Ma's church is an illegal, unregistered house church, China has used cameras to monitor the legal Three-Self Patriotic Movement congregations.
"Last year, Bitter Winter reported that 155 of the 170 Three-Self churches in one section of Huai'an city had government-mandated cameras. They are connected to a network, allowing Chinese officials to monitor Christians."
"The Religious Affairs Bureau pressured us into installing them," a member of one church in Huai'an city told Bitter Winter.
"Each surveillance camera is connected to the public security organs, as required by the Religious Affairs Bureau. They can see every move in the church. If we didn't follow their demands, the church would have to be shut down."