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.”
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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.”
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