Story China | 06 April 2023

Chinese parents asked to pledge they won't teach religion to their children


Show: true / Country: China / China
A kindergarten in a city in eastern China asks parents to sign a document in which they promise to not teach religion to their children.

The “Pledge Form of Commitment for Family Not To Hold Religious Beliefs” was given to parents or guardians with children in kindergartens in Wenzhou city, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, a preschool teacher confirmed to ChinaAid.

Parents were asked to sign the document in which they promise they “do not hold a religious belief, do not participate in any religious activities, and do not propagate and disseminate religion in any locations.”

They also promise to observe party discipline, to not break the country’s laws or to join cults such as Falun Gong. Officially, this also includes house churches as they are seen illegal religious groups.

Wenzhou, also known as “China’s Jerusalem” because of its large Christian community, has been at the forefront of a clampdown on the freedom of Christians.
In 2017, as part of Xi Jinping’s “Sinicization” drive to create a society in the image of the Communist Party, children were banned from churches and Christian camps. These actions are in violation of Article 14 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which China is signatory to—as pointed out by Open Doors' World Watch researchers in the 2023 country dossier.

Faced with the choice of keeping their children from church or legal consequences, some parents have opted to teach their children about Christianity at home.

And it’s not just in Wenzhou—these types of actions have been seen across the province. In 2013, Zhejiang authorities launched a campaign leading to the destruction of thousands of crosses and churches across the province, including in Wenzhou.

Early this year, authorities took away Peter Shao Zhumin, Roman Catholic bishop of Wenzhou, one year after he was released from detention [UCAN]. The church leader, who has consistently refused to join state-approved church bodies, has been detained multiple times in the last 7 years.

China is 16th on the 2023 Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian.

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