Authorities in China's coastal Zhejiang province carried out violent attacks against churches refusing to install surveillance cameras in late March, according to persecution watchdog China Aid.
The Zhejiang provincial government had instructed local authorities to install security cameras in churches with the aim of helping them monitor religious activities. According to China Aid, churches were told that if they refused to set up the surveillance system voluntarily, they would be forced to do so.
Several churches in the city of Wenzhou protested the measure and sent a petition to the local government.
However, says China Aid, despite church members' insistence that these actions have no legal precedent, authorities in the Tengqiao region of Wenzhou have been forcibly executing their threats. At 8am on March 30, officials invaded Anshan Church in Wenzhou and beat back the protesters, causing an elderly Christian woman to be admitted to the hospital from her injuries. Authorities also rammed bulldozers and an ambulance into the church's fence, demolishing it.
On the same day, security guards hired by the government raided many other churches, including Chengan Church. Construction workers commissioned by officials also drove a bulldozer into Zhuxia Church's fence because the members refused to install the cameras.
Meanwhile, members of Jinma Church were beaten and hospitalised for refusing to cooperate with the order, says China Aid.
According to local Christians, authorities installed cameras in every church within the Tengqiao area, and older members of these churches were hospitalised after resisting.