China: Schoolchildren asked to renounce their Christianity

August 13, 2023

For background on Orthodox Christianity in China, see here.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in China, see here.

“Chinese schoolchildren asked to renounce their Christianity,” Open Doors, August 8, 2023:

Students at a public school in Zhejiang Province, central China, were asked to fill out questionnaires to declare their religious affiliations, a local source called Li* has told Open Doors. Li explains that at least two families from their church are affected by this: their children, in their pre and early teens, innocently wrote down on the questionnaire that they are Christians. That’s when the trouble started.

Having completed the forms, the children discovered that their answers had been escalated to the higher school management. At that point, teachers invited the parents and children in for separate meetings. At these meetings, they were asked to sign a declaration renouncing their faith. If they refused the request, there was a possibility that the children would be expelled from the school.

“We signed it because we had no other choice,” shares one of the parents affected. “It will affect our kids’ future.”

Affecting the church
This discrimination is having an impact on Li’s church, as the parents feel unsure about whether it’s safe for them to keep coming.

“Currently these families are not attending our services,” says Li. “It is their first time to experience this kind of treatment and they are still in the middle of processing their feelings. It is shocking for them.”

It’s already against the law for anybody under 18 to attend church, since the introduction of 2018 regulations. Li believes this latest move in the school is part of tightening control from local authorities – in this case, because there is an upcoming international event in their area in August and September. Tightened restrictions and strict implementation of rules by the local authorities are common when big events happen inside China….