Families of believers complain that lessons in fact teach “scientific” atheism to primary and middle school pupils.
by Liang Changpu
Rongxian County, in Guangxi province, with a population of 700,000, witnessed between June and July 2023 a massive effort to indoctrinate primary and middle school children against “xie jiao and illegal religion.” What started by illustrating the harms of the “xie jiao” (movements banned for spreading “heterodox teachings,” sometimes less correctly translated as “cults”), quickly extended to denouncing “illegal religion” and criticizing religion in general as “anti-scientific.”
Children in some cases as young as six were led to repeat slogan hailing “science” and denouncing “feudal superstition.” Games, exercises, lectures, and even nursery rhymes were mobilized to impress the pupils.
“It was presented as something against the xie jiao, one parent who happens to be a Christian believer told “Bitter Winter,” but then the teachers started to oppose science and religion and to tell children that the giants of science never believed in religion” (which, by the way, is false).
A mother complained that children were told that they should be guided by Xi Jinping’s thought and not by “feudal superstitions that would prevent the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” “But feudal superstitions are never defined, the woman said. Is believing in God a feudal superstition?” Some lessons and games implied that this is the case.