People of all religious faiths in China’s Henan province must now complete an online form and receive approval to attend worship services.
Christians, Muslims and Buddhists have to make online reservations on their phones through an app called Smart Religion.
Applicants must fill in their name, phone number, ID number, permanent residence, occupation and date of birth, before they can make a reservation.
To get into a church, mosque or temple they must also have their temperature taken and show a reservation code.
The co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Summit Sam Brownback told CBN News: “Now they’re even requiring people to register on their phones to be able to go to church. Well, that’s so they can track them and shut the places down.”
The app is the latest initiative by Chinese Communist Party officials to maintain control of religious gatherings.
Any Chinese organisation or individual who operates online religious information services must apply to provincial religious affairs departments.
Churches, religious groups, and colleges that plan to conduct online worship services must obtain an Internet Religious Information Service Permit.
Live broadcasts or online recordings of religious ceremonies are banned.
Mr. Brownback says “We’re just seeing the continuation of the Xi Jinping regime becoming a full Mao regime, is really what’s happening.”
“What he’s doing right now is he’s using the current technology. And he’s doing what Mao did in the Cultural Revolution. It’s just tightening down the whole situation, going after faith communities in particular and he’s using it and doing it in a high-tech fashion.”