Christian activity in China is now being strictly monitored by the government’s surveillance network of tens of millions of facial recognition cameras that have sprung up in every city and town, and now even in villages. The data from these cameras is fed into a central computer system around the clock. Using ‘artificial intelligence’, alerts are sent to the police if the system detects any suspicious activity, such as a group of Christians gathering at a home for worship or Bible study.
As a result of this suppression, many house church networks have stopped holding large gatherings and have broken down into tiny groups of no more than 4 or 5 believers. Even these small meetings carry the risk of detection and police action, so great is the control being exerted.
This news comes from the latest report released by Asia Harvest, an organization that works for the persecuted and forgotten people of Asia.
In the past 18 months, the situation for Christians in China has dramatically worsened.
President Xi Jinping, who just had the constitution amended so he can remain in power for as long as he wishes, first raised concerns among Christians about three years ago when he spoke about the need to control “illegal religion” (i.e. all worship or activity outside the control and approval of the atheistic Communist Party). Now that he has been sworn in as dictator-for-life, the Christian persecution will likely only get worse.
Hundreds of house church pastors have vanished over the past few years. Many are assumed to have been killed. Others may be held in “black jails” – secret facilities where they are tortured mercilessly. When someone enters a black jail they are usually never heard from again. Their families have no idea of their whereabouts, and all communication stops.