CCP’s aggressive policy to keep the young away from churches has caused traumas to children and their families. Testimonies of Christians who have been affected.
by Gu Xi
Since last year, the CCP has intensified its control over the faith of minors. From kindergartens to universities, all schools have expressly prohibited students from believing in religion and are vigorously promoting all kinds of anti-religious activities. Schools are even requiring students to inform on their family members who believe in God. And the negative consequences of the CCP’s on-campus campaigns are beginning to show. Some believers reported that their children have started to fear religion and shy away from their Christian relatives.
“My grandmother is a bad person”
An elderly Christian from the northwestern province of Shaanxi told Bitter Winter that because of her faith, her grandson regards her as a “bad person” and has been refusing to call her “grandma” for a long time.
One day last year, her grandson, who is in the fourth grade of primary school, returned home and told her in a panic that the teacher demanded all students to report their relatives who believe in God to the school. “If we don’t report, we’re shielding bad people. You’re a bad person!” said the child.
Clearly, this incident has put a lot of pressure on the boy who is less than ten years old. “If I don’t speak up, if I don’t report, won’t I be a bad person too?” he asked, his eyes filled with tears.
Since then, the boy has distanced himself from his grandmother. “Sometimes, I reach out to touch him, and he immediately dodges away and won’t let me touch him. He doesn’t call me ‘grandma’ either. He thinks his grandmother is a bad person,” said the elderly woman. “He looks a bit flustered and doesn’t talk much to anyone.”
This is not an isolated case. Previously, Christians have reported situations of their children starting to hate religion as a result of indoctrination in schools. “Teachers at school often talk about how it is not allowed to believe in God; it has a big impact on children,” another Christian told Bitter Winter. “In the past, my son was very obedient and often sang hymns with us. Now, he not only won’t acknowledge God’s existence but has even started opposing my belief in God.”
Even kindergarten children not spared
The father of a child that attends a kindergarten in Suihua city in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang reported that in May, his son told him that police officers came to the kindergarten and asked each child whether their parents believed in God. The officers threatened to prick children’s buttocks with a needle if they didn’t speak up, the boy said.
His parents were distraught, but no matter how much they asked for more details, the child wasn’t willing to say anything further. “He just said that the teacher prohibited them from talking about it and asked us not to pressure him. He then ran out,” the father recalled, still not knowing how else the police threatened the children.
In fact, there have been frequent instances of the police or the teaching staff using methods like corporal punishment or threats to pressure children into reporting their family members who believe in God.
A kindergarten teacher from the northeastern province of Jilin reported to Bitter Winter that local primary, secondary schools and kindergartens recently played anti-xie jiao movies for children to indoctrinate them with the anti-religious sentiment. The CCP designates certain rapidly-growing religions that it cannot control as xie jiao and suppresses them. In these propaganda videos, frightening and vilifying elements are added about people of faith.
“The youngest of these children are only three years old, and the oldest are six. Some children don’t even understand what is being said. What the CCP is doing by showing anti-religious movies to such young children is so terrible!” said the teacher.
Psychological traumas are difficult to remedy
Children who follow their parents’ belief in God face even harsher consequences. A third-grade student from a primary school in Henan’s Shangqiu city became the target of attacks at her school because she had previously gone with her father to attend gatherings at church.
One day last October, the school’s principal publicly admonished several students at a school meeting, prohibiting them from following their parents’ Christian beliefs. He then ordered a third-grade student to stand in front of the entire school to be chastised and criticized, citing her as a bad example not to be followed by other students. The girl was crying throughout the whole procedure.
Afterward, whenever the principal ran into her, he would hit the girl by hand or whatever he had, threatening to expel her from school if she continued believing in God. The public humiliation and constant harassment by the principal have placed enormous psychological pressure on the girl.
“She is often unwilling to get off the bus at the school entrance now. When classes are over, she also avoids people when leaving. Sometimes she cries on her way home,” said one of her classmates. “She often worries that her classmates will talk about her behind her back, or the teacher will scold her.” The girl also added that the school’s offensives have caused other children to fear and avoid religion.