Chinese Christian Schoolchildren Forced to Declare They Follow ‘No Religion’
SHIJIAZHUANG, CHINA - APRIL 09: (CHINA OUT) Chinese Catholic worshippers kneel and pray during Palm Sunday Mass during the Easter Holy Week at an "underground" or "unofficial" church on April 9, 2017 near Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, China. China, an officially atheist country, places a number of restrictions on Christians, allowing legal practice of the faith only at state-approved churches. The policy has driven an increasing number of Christians and Christian converts 'underground' to secret congregations in private homes and other venues. While the size of the religious community is difficult to measure, studies estimate more than 80 million Christians inside China; some studies support the possibility it could become the most Christian nation in the world in the coming years. Officially there have been no relations between China and the Vatican since the country's modern founding in 1949 though in recent years there have been signs of warming relations between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Pope Francis that could possibly allow greater religious freedom in the future. At present, the split means approved Chinese Christians worship within a state-sanctioned Church known as the Patriotic Association which regards the Communist Party as its leader, not the Pope in Rome. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Chinese Christian Schoolchildren Forced to Declare They Follow ‘No Religion’

Some 300 schoolchildren in the overtly Christian Zhejiang province have been forced to fill out a form declaring that they do not follow any religion.
A “trusted source” told Christian persecution watchdog World Watch Monitor (WWM) that it is very normal for parents to fill in a questionnaire that asks them about their child’s religion, but that having to falsely declare that they do not follow Jesus is unheard of.
“In this case, the children were handed a questionnaire in class about faith, which is not normal,” the source explained, adding prying for more information on the kids appears to be part of a new initiative “to identify Christians and give them pressure of one sort or another.”
“Children in this part of China would write ‘Christian’ because of 1) their innocence and 2) they come from families of fervent believers who do not compromise their faith,” the source added. However, following this, the teacher demanded that each child specify on their form that they follow “No religion.”
Despite many of the kids choosing to keep their first answer of “Christian,” after numerous warnings, all but one of the students changed to “no religion.”
“It seems teachers recently were tasked with pressuring children by separating them from the other students to ‘counsel’ or talk to them sternly about the ‘consequences’ of talking about being a Christian believer at school, urging them to write “No religion” on their questionnaire,” the WWM source explained.
“This is for the child’s sake and to limit any growth of Christianity amongst young people through evangelism or simply becoming known as the ones who could answer questions other pupils may have about Christianity.””
Indeed, these are not empty threats put forward by government-swayed educational staff. If students fail to comply and are bold to declare their faith, they will likely forfeit any opportunity to, for example, become a class representative. In more severe cases, they may not even obtain their leaving certificate upon graduating from school, making it difficult for the student to gain admission to a university.
Indeed, the persecution can go even further than that for young followers of Jesus. Every choice the child makes with relation to their official religious status is recorded on their “file.” These are then held by government officials on a permanent basis. Thus, an out-of-line answer may result in hampered employment opportunities. “Of course these are all hypothetical scenarios and would be determined largely by the level of involvement of the individual school, its teachers and principals,” the source qualified.
“But generally the sense is one of bias against Christians.”
Do continue to pray for Christians across China, and the persecuted Church across the world.

Source : Faith Wire

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David Oshin is a Content Creator || Full stack Web Developer||Podcast Host || Digital Marketing Strategist. He is very passionate about UNITY of the body of Christ.

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