A new regulation in a Chinese province will require religious adherents to make online reservations before they can attend services in churches, mosques, or Buddhist temples, China Aid reports.
Applicants must fill in personal information on an app called “Smart Religion,” including name, phone number, ID number, permanent residence, occupation, and date of birth, in order to make a reservation. Entrance into the service requires the presentation of a reservation code, and attendees’ temperatures must be taken as well.
The measure is reportedly being rolled out in the Henan province, an area with one of the largest Christian populations in China.
China Aid reports that in August 2022, “the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau of Puyang County in Henan and the Henan Billion Second Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. signed a project contract for the ‘Construction of an Independent Command Platform for the Management of Smart Religion.’”
According to The Voice of the Martyrs, a U.S.-based missionary organization, many Christian house church leaders in China refuse to join the government-controlled churches, despite “continuous pressure and oppression from the Communist government.”