Holy See
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Chinese Government Implements Digital Identification System for Priests

Lym Kym

After the Chinese Communist Government obliged Buddhist and Taoist monks to register in the system of identity verification on February 22, 2023, the turn has now come for Catholic Priests, Protestant Pastors and Muslim Imams to do the same.

It is an online verification system for Religious based on an online card with their identity data. The system focuses on the cards of all religious leaders, from the lowest to the highest level. The card remains in the hands of the Government, but can also be consulted by Chinese citizens. 

Specifically, the card includes data such as name, sex, title, religious denomination, registration number, etc. The card is associated with a telephone number. For their part, the Religious Confessions, such as the Catholic Church, commit themselves to update the registration data.

According to the official agency Xinhua, this tool is an instrument to validate the authenticity of the ministers so it lends itself to scams.” The same source states that “over the last years several cases have been denounced of people that have tried to profit claiming fraudulently a false monastic identity and, by doing so, have seriously discredited the image of the religious community, at the same time perturbing public order, damaging citizens’ health and economic and patrimonial resources, with an extremely negative social impact.”

Considering that it’s a Communist Government, it’s understandable that this also serves to control Churches better, identifying each one of their leaders.