IMAGINE BEING AT SCHOOL AND GETTING CALLED INTO THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE WHERE YOU FACE PRESSURE TO GIVE UP YOUR FAITH IN JESUS. IT SOUNDS UNBELIEVABLE, BUT THIS IS IS HAPPENING IN CHINA.
Students at a public school in Zhejiang Province, central China, were asked to fill out questionnaires to declare their religious affiliations, a local source called Li* has told Open Doors. Li explains that at least two families from their church have been affected: their children, in their pre and early teens, innocently wrote down on the questionnaire that they are Christians. That’s when the trouble started.
The children found that their answers had been sent to the school management. At that point, teachers invited the parents and children in for separate meetings. At these meetings, they were asked to sign a declaration renouncing their faith. If they refused the request, there was a possibility that the children would be expelled from the school.
“We signed it because we had no other choice,” shares one of the parents affected. “It will affect our kids’ future.”
This discrimination is having an impact on Li’s church, as the parents feel unsure about whether it’s safe for them to keep coming.
“Currently these families are not attending our services,” says Li. “It is their first time to experience this kind of treatment and they are still in the middle of processing their feelings. It is shocking for them.”
It’s already against the law for anybody under 18 to attend church, since the introduction of regulations in 2018. Li believes this latest move in the school is part of tightening control from local authorities – in this case, because there is an upcoming international event in their area.
Despite the oppressive restrictions faced by Christians in many parts of China, faith is rising in the country and people are taking great risks to attend underground churches. Li emphasises how vital it is that Christians – particularly young Christians – are equipped to follow Jesus and answer difficult questions. “We have learned the great importance of preparing our young believers on how to cope with pressures in any form due to their faith at any time,” she says. “They do not know what and how to answer.”
Please join the Chinese church in praying for God’s grace and wisdom in the face of growing restrictions – that His children will remain strong in serving Him, sharing the gospel and uniting with other brothers and sisters.
*Name changed due to security reasons.
That the Holy Spirit will guide the affected families in this trying time, and that they will be comforted from this traumatising experience
For the authorities to be able to understand and receive the love of Christ.
For Christians in China to be trained and equipped to stay strong in their faith in the face of increasing persecution
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