The Chinese government has begun to use fingerprint and facial scanning technology to document the personal information of Christians in the country. The growing Christian community is being held on a tight leash and their biometrics are now being recorded by the government.
According to a report by Christian persecution watchdog Bitter Winter, biometric scanning machines have been installed at the entrance of Muyang Church. The church in question is located in the Hubei province in Central China. Those who wish to attend church services had to undergo facial and fingerprint scanning before they could enter the house of God.
The church attendees’ biometrics were recorded along with information about their families. The restrictions do not end there. The watchdog reveals that Christians residing in Huangshi City are also required to reveal all the venues in which they hold religious gatherings.
The report further added: “The churchgoer is disturbed by the order since the requirement not only puts members of congregations under the government’s constant tracking and surveillance but can also implicate their family members and relatives.”
Concerns were also raised about the possibility of some devotees and their family members receiving punishment. They also expressed fears about being under constant “surveillance.” Some members of Christian congregations are also afraid of being given restrictions at work or being denied promotions.
The report about the biometric scanning machines in Muyang Church is not an isolated case. While details remain vague, it is believed that the practice is spreading rapidly across the province and perhaps the country.
Many other instances of Christian persecution are being reported. Devotees were reportedly interrogated after they were caught purchasing faith-based books online. The transactions were made through an instant messaging app called “WhatsApp,” which is likely being monitored.
The police visits and heavy monitoring of Christian literature and paraphernalia are perceived to be a direct effort by the Chinese government to suppress the Christian faith. These measures are being taken to discourage Christians from practicing their faith.
Feature photo by: Metrónomo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36086819