Olli Dürr

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In China, believers are subjected to harassment – registration is necessary


Reprisals and harassment. In China, believers, especially Christians, have anything but an easy life when practicing their religion. Anyone who wants to attend church services in Henan Province must register in advance using an app and obtain permission.

Reprisals even before the service

Great Wall
The idyll only applies if there is a lot of love for the party

In China, the bandages against believers are apparently being tightened further. Anyone who wants to attend the service, regardless of whether they are Christian, Buddhist or Muslim, must register in advance using a smartphone app or register for the service. This procedure will initially be introduced in the Chinese province of Henan, according to a report from the Chinese human rights group “ChinaAid”, according to the Catholic News Agency (CNA).

“Smart Religion”

The almost cynical app called “Smart Religion” was developed by the Henan Provincial Commission for Ethnic and Religious Affairs. To be permitted to attend church services, believers must enter their name, officially registered ID number, permanent residence, profession, date of birth and other information via the app in order to make a reservation for the next church service. To this end, churchgoers are required to have their body temperature measured before entering the building and to display the code for the confirmed reservation. “ChinaAid” suspects that these measures are in some way related to the Corona measures that are still in place.

Only 6% are Christians

Around 98 million people live in Henan Province. According to a survey carried out in 2012, only 13 percent are believers. Of the 98 million people, almost 6 percent are Christian, making it one of the largest Christian communities in all of China. This relatively marginal proportion is apparently already causing a headache for China’s communist and officially secular government.

There are also “privileges”

The monitoring of individual religions is handled differently in China. CNA reports that there is a Catholic Church recognized by the government, but that in its sermons it emphasizes, among other things, “love of the fatherland” and “affection” for the party. There is also an underground Catholic church that only recognizes Rome as its authority. In general, however, any religion is subject to reprisals and surveillance.

The party rigorously enforces its will

If something goes against the Chinese government’s grain, strict action will be taken. The Henan authorities quickly bulldozed a Catholic church. According to CNA, dozens of people were also arrested. The church was declared an “illegal building”. In Zhumadian, Henan, in 2016, bulldozers moved in to demolish the local church. Pastor Li Jiangong and his wife stood against the approaching bulldozers. While the pastor narrowly escaped with his life, his wife did not survive the government-ordered destruction.

The end justifies the means

For the aid organization “ChinaAid”, the “Smart Religion” app that has now been introduced is simply a measure to make worship even more difficult for believers. Older people and people with little technical knowledge in particular could even be excluded from church services. According to the organization, this new “management” by the Chinese government has nothing to do with protecting the rights of religious people. It was more of a means to achieve political goals.

Loyalty must be to the party

The Standing Committee of the Henan Provincial Party Committee pointed out the need for these measures. Religions must be comprehensively and strictly administered. People are called upon to continue to follow the Chinese Communist Party unswervingly.

China as a role model

China’s surveillance mania and the social point collection system can be viewed as a blueprint for the “rest of the world”. Such developments have been observed for years. The technical requirements are already in place. The expansion of mobile networks is progressing “on earth” and thousands of communication satellites have already been placed “extraterrestrially”. At the same time, progress is being made with the “testing” of digital currencies, the dismantling of ATMs, the expansion of cashless checkouts in supermarkets, payments by scanning QR codes, the installation of a digital patient file, etc., etc. It’s exciting be how quickly and in what steps such “brave new world thoughts” are manifested.This also includes being locked out of the company’s economic ability to act if the line is not well-behaved.

In China, believers are subjected to harassment – registration is necessary
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