ASIA/CHINA - Identity of Buddhist and Taoist monks available online

Friday, 24 February 2023 buddhism  

Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - An "online archive" containing the identification data of all Buddhist and Taoist monks registered with the Chinese authorities, which can also be consulted by citizens who, from now on, will now be able to verify their identity and the task of each monk.
According to the official Chinese media, information about "Islamic, Catholic and Protestant clergy" will soon be made available in China as of Wednesday, February 22.
According to China's state-run Xinhua Press Agency, the search system launched in Beijing on Feb. 22 "provides the public with online information about Buddhist and Taoist monks" who have been identified and registered under the law. The information can be found on the websites of the Chinese Buddhist Association, the Chinese Taoist Association, the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) and the China Tibet Network (
"According to reports," Xinhua said, "the system for searching information on Islamic, Catholic and Protestant clergy will also be available online soon."
The database contains seven pieces of information about each individual Buddhist and Taoist monk, including name, gender, religious title and registration number. The personal file of each monk is accompanied by a photograph. The data can also be accessed via mobile phones after entering the verification codes and meeting the conditions set by the search system. The Chinese Buddhist Association and the Chinese Taoist Association will "update the monks' data in a timely manner to ensure that the information available is accurate and reliable".
According to Xinhua, the decision to set up an online database of China's Taoist and Buddhist monastic communities stems from an urgency to "curb the uncontrolled phenomenon of fake Buddhist and Taoist monks using religion for personal gain." The new online file is therefore a useful tool to "maintain normal religious order and protect the healthy transmission of Buddhism and Taoism". At the same time, it helps Chinese Taoists and Buddhists identify false monks and "protect the public interest and the legitimate rights and interests of citizens." "In recent years," the Chinese authorities said in a statement, "there have been several cases of people attempting to profit by fraudulently claiming a false monastic identity," and in doing so they "have seriously discredited the image of the religious community, disturbed public order, damaged the health and economic resources and assets of citizens, with extremely negative social repercussions". (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 24/2/2023)