China intensifies its crackdown on Christians, particularly targeting schoolchildren who are now under pressure from authorities to renounce their Christian faith. This intensified anti-Christian campaign encompasses stricter regulations and heightened oppression. The situation has escalated to the point where Christian students are being coerced into relinquishing their religious beliefs.
Coercion in Educational Meetings:
According to a report from an international watchdog, incidents have been noted in Zhejiang Province, Central China, where students attending a public school were instructed to complete questionnaires disclosing their religious affiliations. As per a local source, this led to consequences for at least two Christian families when their children openly identified themselves as Christians on the questionnaires. Unfortunately, this act marked trouble for these families.
Interestingly, the students realized that their answers had been escalated to higher school authorities only after they had submitted the questionnaires. This resulted in subsequent separate meetings, involving both parents and children, with teachers.
During these meetings, school officials directly asked the families to sign a declaration renouncing their Christian faith. Rejecting this renunciation could potentially result in the expulsion of their children from the school. One parent affected by this situation stated that they felt coerced into signing the declaration due to a lack of alternatives. The parent further explained that they took this action considering their children’s future prospects.
Impact on Students and Families:
The repercussions of this situation have already dealt a severe blow to these families. They have reportedly refrained from attending church services due to concerns about their safety. The families are grappling with the emotional impact of this treatment, which is an entirely new experience for them.
Despite the mounting persecution, the Christian community continues to grow, albeit discreetly. Estimates indicate that China’s Christian population constitutes around 7% of the total population. On the Open Doors list of countries with Christian persecution, China holds the 16th position. The Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to maintain its supremacy involve increasingly stringent restrictions on Christians and heightened surveillance. Recent regulations such as internet and social media restrictions, coupled with the 2018 prohibition on individuals under 18 attending church, significantly limit the freedom of Christians. These measures underscore the Party’s determination to eliminate any perceived threats to its authority.