A woman that belonged to a government-approved Protestant Three-Self Church in Fujian was blacklisted when her religious faith was marked as xie jiao (a heterodox organization) on the official identity database.
The religious affiliation of a person, among other personal information, is stored in the identity database for second-generation identification cards in China, making the monitoring of its citizens and persecuting them for religious beliefs much easier.
In September of 2017, Three-Self Church member Chen Yanyu from Putian city, Fujian, together with seven other members of her church, traveled to the city of Zhangzhou. As they gave their IDs to check in to a hotel, Chen Yanyu was informed there was a problem with her ID, and she would need to go to a local police station to get a certification stamp before she would be able to check in.
The group immediately went to the police station where an officer checked Chen Yanyu’s ID, and the identity database indicated that her religious affiliation is marked as xie jiao. She was detained on the spot, and then a dozen police officers interrogated her in succession. During the interrogations, Chen Yanyu was informed that as she had been issued a passport to go abroad to attend a sermon in July of 2017, her ID was blacklisted by the Public Security Bureau, and her religion had been changed from “Christianity” to xie jiao – heterodox organization, belonging for which is punishable by law.
That night, Chen Yanyu was interrogated for an hour and a half before she was finally released, her religion, however, has not been changed back to Christianity on the database. Because of this, Chen Yanyu’s traveling is restricted, and she does not dare to show anyone her ID fearing to get into more trouble.
Reported by Lin Yijiang