International Christian Concern | June 3, 2020
On May 26, when pastor Ma Chao from the Guangfu house church in Guangzhou, Guangdong province was heading to his church to attend a prayer meeting, he could not help but noticed the newly installed CCTV cameras outside the church’s door and in stairwell, with lenses pointing directly at the church’s entrance.
Ma told China Aid, “They installed CCTV cameras outside our door and close to our entrance. I inquired our community management company, only to find out that it was not done by the company, but by the police who intend to place us under surveillance. There are in total three cameras, all pointing at us.”
A few days earlier, on May 20 at 10 am, three members of the church were investigated by local police at the church. Ma said, “Four police officers came, saying that they were investigating the church’s gathering. Two of them said we were not allowed to meet. I was not present at the time, but pastor Wu, along with another pastor and elder were there.”
Although the members asked the police to show their IDs and legal documents, they were rejected. Ma added, “When they asked them to show IDs or explain why they visited the church, they refused to show their IDs. A police 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.”
Ma has been repeatedly harassed by the local authorities. As recent as April, he was visited by the police as they inquired about his activities. And in March, he and his wife were blocked from leaving their building in the name of Coronavirus prevention. He thinks that these visits are meant to threaten him and push him out of Guangzhou.