China’s mass surveillance makes ministry difficult but not impossible

By June 6, 2023

China (MNN) — June 2020 was a tumultuous season in China. Draconian lockdown measures instilled fear and uncertainty. “Cameras were everywhere,” says Kurt Rovenstine of Bibles for China.

“There was lots of surveillance during COVID, allegedly for the protection of the people.”

Today – even though the pandemic is over – those cameras are still in place and active. “[Our partners] know they’re being watched,” Rovenstine says.

“Surveillance in all parts of China is definitely the new normal.”

China’s extensive surveillance system predates the pandemic. The Chinese government used facial recognition powered by AI to crack down on religious activity in late 2019. Months later, the COVID-19 pandemic allowed China to install even more cameras and expand its control nationwide.

Thankfully, “it (expanded surveillance) has not dramatically affected our ability to get Bibles into” rural communities, Rovenstine says.

“But it does make it more difficult.”

(Photo courtesy of Bibles for China)

Bibles for China puts God’s Word into the hands of rural Christians who cannot afford a Bible. More about that here.

“[We] just recently had a distribution that went really great and had some wonderful stories that confirmed we’re doing exactly what we ought to be doing,” Rovenstine says.

Pray that believers find strength, direction, and peace in the Word of God. Ask the Lord to give continued opportunities to Bibles for China.

“We still desire to be open and legal. Pray for the door to continue to be open, for resources [and] avenues to provide the funding [for Bibles,]” Rovenstine requests.



Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Michał Jakubowski/Unsplash.