The Chinese government is now reportedly banning Christian children from attending their churches in yet another crackdown on religious liberty as President Xi Jinping continues to consolidate power.
The ban includes turning children away from churches even if they attend with their parents and teachers. Additionally, the ban includes promises that officials will launch investigations into both government approved churches and underground congregations ...
The latest move comes as part of a concerted crackdown on religion that began with a three-year cross removal campaign in the Christian stronghold province of Zhejiang. The state's move against religions became official last year when Chinese leader Xi Jinping instituted formal plans to "sinicize" religion with the intention of bringing more religious followers under the control of the ruling Communist Party, which itself is officially atheist and forbids members from practicing.
"An emergency notice from the higher authorities strictly forbids all secondary and primary school teachers, students and toddlers to join Catholic or Protestant churches," the school district of Yonglin in Wenzhou, eastern Zhejiang, said in a note to all primary schools, adult educational institutes and kindergartens.
Maria, a Catholic laywoman in the district who identified herself by her baptismal name, told ucanews.com that about a week ago her daughter's teacher sent an audio and written message to the parents' chat group "asking us not to bring children to the church."
Recent reports suggest Christianity is becoming a major hindrance to the Communist Party with as many as 60 percent of college students in some areas saying they want to learn more about Jesus. Xi needs to rein in the people as he attempts to win another presidential term.
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China begins Oct. 18.