23 March 2018
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Wenzhou: authorities cut off power and water to churches refusing to install cameras

The order was issued at the end of last year. Churches give in under the pressure of the authorities. Arrests and raids against house churches continue.

Wenzhou (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Chinese authorities have cut off power and water to a number of house churches in Zhejiang Province in order to force them to install surveillance devices.

The order was issued at the end of last year and came into effect in January. At the beginning of April, Christians in Wenzhou staged a protest against government officials who had come to install cameras.

A church in Tuanqian, Rui'an (Wenzhou Prefecture), is the only one left without the surveillance equipment. But it too will soon give in due to “too much pressure”. Two other local churches were forced to do the same when power and water were cut off.

Wenzhou is known as the "Chinese Jerusalem" because of its many religious buildings and boasts the highest concentration of Christians in mainland China.

Meanwhile, the Christian Post has reported more arrests and raids against house churches.

Last month, police officers barged into the Zhongfu Wanmin Church in the southern province of Guangdong during a church service and arrested scores of members, including an American family with children, and the church’s pastor, Rev Li Peng, who was beaten up. The clergyman was the only one who was not released after questioning.

The police also confiscated phones, papers, and credit cards from those who tried to film and take picture of what was going on.

In a related story, about 100 Chinese special police and other security officers raided a building in China's north-eastern Liaoning province where about 40 house church pastors were gathered for a "Unity in Christianity" event.

The authorities accused the pastors of "participating in illegal gatherings without government permission," this according to China Aid.

Three of the pastors were arrested and taken away whilst the rest were locked up in a room and interrogated for hours.

Underground or unregistered house churches are illegal in China and are often subjected to raids and other forms of intimidation by the authorities.

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