“Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.”
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
The new policy issued as Regulations on Religious Affairs, which came into force in February 2018, states that“religion is dangerous for minors, and they are prohibited from participating in any religion-related activities, “so as to help them establish a correct worldview, outlook on life, and system of values and form a healthy mind.”
In China no child is allowed in church, nor are they allowed to participate in any religious activities. Furthermore, the anti-religion ambush even swoops in on children housed in facilities, run by religious organizations, religious summer camps or any quasi religious activity. To further its atheistic propaganda machine, the CCP also transforms schools into political re-education camps for its anti-religion indoctrination.
There are approximately 300,000,000 youth under the age of 18 in China. Every Chinese child is endowed with the inalienable and sacrosanct right of religious freedom. It is their birthright.
The scope, magnitude, and implementation of this draconian policy imposed upon this vulnerable population cries out for justice.
This submission demonstrates the ruthless depth of destruction and degradation in the enforcement of this regulation on children, their schools, and their families by government agents.
The prophetic and chilling words of an Open Doors Report, on religious persecution in China predicts that “we will lose the next generation of Christians. This is China’s war on children.” The net effect of this onerous government policy is to wipe out all faith belief in China’s next generation.
Religious Upbringing Improves the Mental Health of Children
It is universally recognized that children benefit emotionally from religious upbringing, resulting in positive health outcomes into adulthood. In a study from the Harvard School of Quantitative Social Studies, the research found that children gain significant positive outcomes from a religious education in their formative years. The results are measurable and significant:
“We also found that a religious upbringing contributes to a wide range of health and well-being outcomes later in life.”
Findings: Those who attended religious services regularly were subsequently:
12% less likely to have high depressive symptoms
33% less likely to use illicit drugs.
Those who prayed or meditated frequently were:
30% less likely to start having sex at a young age
40% less likely to subsequently have a sexually transmitted infection.
38% more likely to volunteer in their community.
47% more likely to have high sense of mission and purpose.”
The free practice of religious rights enhance life outcomes for children. When children are arbitrarily and brutally denied the opportunity to participate in religious activities by government fiat, they suffer needless life consequences and trauma.
The global community recognizes that the free practice of religion is a basic human right with qualitative advantages and improved strengths for children. Tragically, religion is undergoing a demolition and destruction as absolute, visible, and widespread as the government’s arbitrary razing of churches.
Specific Incidents of Governmental Discrimination and Deprivation of Chinese Children’s Right to Religious Freedom
Listed below are a few of the many incidents which capture the ruthless, CCP dragnet imposed under the religious discrimination policy:
- In the first half of 2018, a kindergarten independently operated by Beijing Agape Church and a kindergarten founded by Xunsiding Church in Fujian Province were forcibly closed down by authorities.
- In April of 2018, UCAN China reports that a priest in Hebei Province, stated that local authorities demanded that signs, “Minors are Prohibited from Entering” were posted all over China.” This practice is also being reported in the Catholic churches in the Dioceses of Kaifeng and Anyang in Henan. The Henan government also directed agents to extricate minors who attended services in the Catholic churches.
- May 1, 2018, the pro-government Henan Province Catholic Patriotic Association, gave notice that any training activities for minors, including summer and winter camps, as well as participation of minors in religious services, should be immediately suspended. Churches that do not comply would be closed forthwith.
- Spring 2018-“Minors Are Prohibited From Entering” were posted at many sites for religious activities throughout China. UCAN China report that a priest in Hebei Province, said that local authorities demand that the warning signs be posted in the underground churches as well. Otherwise, the churches would be shut down. A Catholic priest said that warning signs are also posted in the churches of Xinjiang.
- On April 1st Easter, during a Catholic church mass in the diocese of Zhengzhou, Henan Province, the local authorities rushed into the church and forcibly drove out the minors. Afterward, every Sunday, police cars are parked outside of church and at least three enforcement officers guarding there, forbidding the churchgoers to take their children into the church. Even young children carried by parents are prohibited.
- In September 2018, in Henan Province, the Department of Education anti-religion propaganda machine now extends as a condition of graduation opportunities. Students must pass a test demonstrating their anti-religious knowledge in order to graduate. At Shangqui Institute of Technology, students were threatened by expulsion if they were exposed for having religious beliefs.
- The government has also forcibly and arbitrarily shut down kindergartens and primary schools sponsored and managed by house churches throughout mainland China.
- October 2018, World Watch Monitor, a religious persecution watchdog, reported that “hundreds of Christian children in Zhejiang province have been asked to fill out a form stating that they did not follow a religion and “shamed” for their faith. According to World Watch Monitor, over 300 children from two high schools in the region, known for its strong Christian presence, were handed a “questionnaire in class about faith.”
- Early May 2019, the State Bureau of Religious Affairs sent a supervisory team to Shandong province, reportedly to implement the religious policies that had been implemented in Zhejiang and Henan provinces, including forcing the demolition of crosses, forbidding children under 18 to enter churches, banning training centers in churches, and removing all Christian symbols from churches.
- August 2019-The Bethany Home for Children with Disabilities, located in Taiyuan, Shanxi, was founded by a Catholic nun in 1997 and has housed over 100 children. The Xiaodian District Civil Affairs Bureau unexpectedly visited Bethany Home and notified its staff that the children were to be sent to state-run orphanages because they were suspected of “illegally adopting children.” The authorities removed all the children from the only home they ever knew.
- In August 2019, China Aid and Open Doors reported that in Shangrao, more than 40 churches hung a slogan that reads, “No underage people allowed in church.”
- In the ultimate atheistic propaganda tactic, the CCP now requires students to sign a form that states, “I will adhere to the correct political direction, advocate science, promote atheism and oppose theism.
- In August of 2019, throughout dioceses in China, churches are receiving warnings to prohibit holding summer camps from Communist authorities. The purpose of this prohibition is to further disconnect children from any attachment to the Church, even recreational.
- On March 18, 2019, in Beijing, President Xi Jinping urged the importance of cultivating generations that will support the CCP leadership and the Chinese socialist system. This must start with schools, he said, to make young people the successors of communism, with teachers doing everything to prevent the spread of “false ideas and thoughts.” Thus, China schools and kindergartens are implementing that the young Chinese generation grow with the “right ideas and thoughts” of communism and atheism.
- In March 2019, measures are implemented to force students to report on any religious persons. Over 20 plainclothes police officers arrived at the grade six classroom of a primary school in Beijing’s Fangshan district to question each student about whether any of their family members are religious. Officers even tried to obtain the information by bribing the children, promising 500 RMB (about $75) as a payoff. The government is instructing children to snitch on their family and friends and accept bribes for reporting.
- In early April 2019, the Suiyang District Education and Sports Bureau in Shangqiu city, in the central province of Henan, ordered primary and secondary schools to hold signing events, which pledge to stay away from religion. Other signing ceremonies, were held in all 18 schools and kindergartens in Gaoxin, which warned that any student who believes in God would be expelled. Teachers and students were forced to sign their names on a large propaganda banner promising not to enter a religious venue. Then, the banner was hung on the outer facade of the school.
Young children must watch in horror at the wholesale demolition and destruction of their beloved place of worship, robbed of their religious identity.
The comprehensive 2019 ChinaAid Annual Report specifically recounts and documents the widespread CCP campaign of destruction of churches, persecution of christians, and disruption of religious activities. The examples below only represent a small fraction of the entirety of abuses.
Churches demolished by force or faced demotion in Shaanxi, Hubei, Inner Mongolia, Jiangxi, Tianjin, Anhui, Hebei, Henan, and Jiangsu.
By September 2018, the crosses of most churches in Henan province have been demolished. The total number exceeds 7,000.
Many schools in Wenzhou started to collect information on students’ religious beliefs, which involved three steps: 1) identify students whose parents are Catholics or Christians; 2) identify the parents’ names, home addresses, and their employers; 3) visit these parents at their homes to ask them to give up their religious beliefs. Zhongxin Elementary School in Pingyang County, Wenzhou, for example, screened students about their religious beliefs and asked parents to reveal their religious beliefs. Some authorities pressured the parents to give up their religious beliefs through their employers.
Forcibly outlawing and shutting down churches, ordering churches to stop meeting, searching and ruining church assets, and forcibly repossessing church properties.
On April 17, children’s bibles and books were confiscated by government agents from Beixishang Church in Jiaozuo, Xinxiang Parish, Henan.
Forced cross demolitions in Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Henan, Hubei, Shandong, and Guizhou.
Church leaders and lay believers detained, seized, and sentenced on fabricated criminal charges and some forced into “disappearance.”
Persecuting church pastors and their families for practicing the faith.
Deeming illegal teaching children Christian hymns at home.
Foreign literary classics in newly published textbooks stripped of religious terms including God and the Bible.
Churches, believers, and general public strictly prohibited from celebrating Christmas
Christians hindered from homeschooling their children.
Expelling Christians and stripping them of their right to a residence
Early Rain Covenant Church member’s adopted children taken away from parents.
At this moment in history, the children of China are cruelly victimized and traumatized by the military-like destruction of their religious legacy and family heritage by the wholesale demolition of their houses of worship. They watch as their fundamental right to religious freedom is bulldozed into rubble. China’s children are robbed of this inherent right enjoyed by children around the world by the dictates of the CCP.
The assault on religion is widespread, comprehensive, and brutal in China. The Xi government has demolished religion from cradle to grave.
All that remains for the faithful are the catacombs.