China | Christian Children Forced To Tick 'No Religion'
More than 300 Christian children in two high schools in Zhejiang province have been asked to fill out a form stating that they do not follow a religion.
This province has been referred to as the ‘Jerusalem of the East’ for its strong Christian presence.
“The children were handed a questionnaire in class about faith, which is not normal," a local source, who wished to remain anonymous, explained. "Children in this part of China would write ‘Christian’ because of their innocence and they come from families of fervent believers who do not compromise their faith.”
In the first school, which has around 200 Christian students, the teacher demanded they rewrite the questionnaire, stating that they had to tick 'no religion’.
But when filling out the next questionnaire, half of the children maintained that they were Christians. After more warnings, all but one child ticked ‘no religion’.
In the other school, which has around 100 Christian children, it was the class prefect who forced the Christians to resubmit their papers, stating that they had ‘no religion’.
Future Consequences For Believers
Children who do not comply are reportedly denied access to opportunities at school, like being elected as class representatives for special events.
They also may not be able to receive a leaving certificate from school, and the incident may be recorded in the child’s personal file – held by local government departments – which could have consequences for future work.
Growing Pressure for China’s Christians
In February, China introduced revised regulations on religion, which included banning under-18s from attending church in some areas.
In August, hundreds of church leaders signed a public letter, calling on the government to stop its ‘violent actions’ against Christians.
They cited the demolition of crosses on church buildings, removing expressions of faith like crosses hanging on Christians’ homes, and forcing churches to join religious organisations controlled by the government.
- For believers in China as pressure increases to remain steadfast in their faith.
- For young Christians at school to cling to Jesus and have boldness in their faith.
- For teachers and government officials enforcing these rules to have a revelation of Jesus as Lord.
Stay updated with news from the persecuted church.
Source: World Watch Monitor