China launches inquiry system for Buddhist and Taoist clerical personnel
Published: Feb 22, 2023 11:50 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China's latest information inquiry system for Buddhist and Taoist clerical personnel was launched on Wednesday to regulate the management on clerical personnel and fight against fraud cases related to fake religious personnel. 

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. The system provides information of Buddhist and Taoist clerical personnel identified and registered in accordance with the laws to the public through the internet. 

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. 

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

Fraud cases involving fake religious personnel have occurred from time to time in recent years, which has seriously tarnished the image of religious circles, disturbed social and public orders, caused economic and property losses to people, and left an extremely bad social impact, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

In 2021, Wang Xingfu in Jinan, East China's Shandong Province, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after he illegally amassed nearly 200 million yuan ($29.11 million) and raped or molested several female disciples by faking an identity as a Living Buddha of Tibetan Buddhism. 

In 2022, a video clip showing a group of people dressed in monks' and nuns' apparels distributing money while partying and dining sparked heated discussions online. The group of people were described in the video as clerical personnel from Wutaishan Buddhist Association, which was later denied by the association. 

It is expected that the new system can curb the chaotic situation of amassing wealth in the name of religion by fake clerical personnel, and maintain normal religious orders as well as ensure the healthy inheritance of Buddhism and Taoism. 

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

It is reported that the information inquiry system of the clerical personnel of Islam, Catholic Church, Protestant Churches will soon be launched in the near future. 

Global Times