An OSV News article in the Catholic Register titled "Under surveillance, government pressure, China needs prayers, observers say" interviewed Kellogg Faculty Fellow Karrie Koesel and cited testimony she gave before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China in Washington last September.
Koesel describes that Chinese President Xi Jinping has been working to centralize power and exerting greater control over civil society, including religion, since he took office. In citing her testimony, the article states that Koesel spoke of how the Chinese government uses surveillance to collect information on religious believers.
"It tracks phone apps that transmit information on user activity and location; it utilizes facial recognition technology to follow movement and relies on an impressive array of CCTV cameras at temples, churches and mosques to keep tabs on attendance and the content of religious services," she said.
Even so, Koesel asserts that the situation is not as bad as during the Cultural Revolution, when people were not allowed to attend services publicly or enter the priesthood.