St. Louis, Mo., Mar 7, 2023 / 15:15 pm
A human rights group active in China is reporting that religious believers in a populous Chinese province are now required to register on a government app in order to attend worship services.
ChinaAid, a U.S.-based Christian charity, reported March 6 that the religious department of the provincial government of Henan is rolling out a system whereby all believers must make online reservations before they can attend services in churches, mosques, or Buddhist temples.
The reservations are to be made through an app called “Smart Religion” developed by the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission of Henan Province. According to ChinaAid, applicants must fill in personal information, including their name, phone number, government ID number, permanent residence, occupation, and date of birth before they can make a reservation. Those who are allowed into a place of worship must also have their temperature taken — suggesting the app may be related in some way to COVID-19 restrictions — and show a reservation code.
Henan, located in the east-central part of the country, has one of the largest Christian populations in China — as much as 6% — according to a 2012 government survey. The communist government of China is officially secular, and the same survey suggested that just 13% of the 98 million population of Henan belongs to an organized religion.