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China’s launch of online inquiry system for clerical personnel spells trouble for expelled Tibetan monastics

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(TibetanReview.net, Feb26’23) – China said it had launched its latest information inquiry system for Buddhist and Taoist clerical personnel on Feb 22 to regulate the management on clerical personnel and fight against fraud cases related to fake religious personnel. But in the case of Tibet, the facility could also be used to blacklist clerics who had been expelled from their religious orders for their perceived lack of loyalty and patriotism towards the Communist party and the Chinese state.

A ceremony for the launch of the inquiry system was held at the Guangji Temple in Beijing, where the Buddhist Association of China is situated, reported China’s official globaltimes.cn Feb 22. The system provides information of Buddhist and Taoist clerical personnel identified and registered in accordance with the laws to the public through the internet.

The report said clerical personnel’s information including name, gender, photo, religious title, religious sect, clerical identity and clerical ID number will be available to the public and the information will be updated in a timely manner by the associations to ensure accuracy and credibility.

In Tibet, monks and nuns are expelled from their religious orders and banned from resuming clerical life if they are accused of engaging in activities disapproved of by the Chinese government. The reasons for the expulsion could range from what the authorities consider engagement in separatist activities to working for the preservation and promotion of the Tibetan cultural identity.

The report said the launch of the system was an important effort for China’s Buddhist and Taoist associations to promote openness in religious affairs and regulate the identification management of clerical personnel.

The system is also expected to provide convenience for the public to identify fake clerical personnel, and safeguard public interests and legitimate rights.

This means that Tibetan clerics expelled from their religious orders could be arrested and persecuted if they are found to engage in religious ceremonies and teachings since they would no longer appear in the online data base of the Chinese government.

The report said the information inquiry system of the clerical personnel of Islam, Catholic Church, Protestant Churches will also be launched in the near future.

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