Surveillance and tracking devices have reportedly been installed in churches across China as part of authorities increasing desire to control the movements of Christians in the country.
Facial recognition technology was placed in Three Self Churches in the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur region. Several other churches reported instances of surveillance in different provinces as well. In early October, Muyang Church in Hubei had facial recognition and fingerprint software installed and were required to have congregants scanned before each entry to the building.
Bitter Winter has reported that the fingerprints and scans are being used to not only monitor and track those attending worship services, but also their families. The regular scanning also reveals who is consistently attending services.
Though the new surveillance is concerning, China has long been monitoring state-run churches with cameras placed all around the premises and inside. This initiative, known as Sharp Eyes Project, intends to achieve “blind-spot free monitoring” by next year, including rural regions of the country.
Date published: 25/11/2019
Feature image: A local resident rides a bicycle past a church in Xiaoshan, a commercial suburb of Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province, on Dec. 21, 2006. Lang Lang—Reuters
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