Further Crackdowns on Educating Children

Sep 30, 2022 | VoM

Teaching religion to children under 18 years old has been illegal since the adoption of China’s constitution in 1982, and communist officials have increasingly tightened those restrictions in the past few years.

Chinese lawmakers have passed additional policies to bolster governmental control over homeschooling and private education. A law passed in June 2021 empowers the government to revoke the parental rights of those who do not send their children to public schools. More recently, China enacted a family education law in January 2022 that gives the government authority over what is taught inside the home.

In some cities, school officials have lined children up and asked them one by one if they attend church or if their parents teach them religious beliefs. Officials then called the parents of children who answered in the affirmative, threatening to expel their children from school. In many cases, officials have also required parents to sign documents stating that they would not teach religious ideology to their children.

Dozens of church-run schools around the country have been raided and closed. In a typical example, national security officers raided the Jordan River Learning Centre, a Christian school affiliated with Mount Carmel Church in Anhui province, in March 2021. Authorities detained 10 staff members on charges of “illegal business operations”, seized school equipment and confiscated teachers’ mobile phones and computers. Eight of the teachers were released on bail, while two remain in prison.