Some universities in Henan Province have included the assessment of anti-religion knowledge as part of the graduation requirements and are intensifying the promotion of atheism to the newly-enrolled students.
In September, the Department of Education in the central province of Henan issued a document demanding to intensify anti-religious activities at universities. The higher education institutions were instructed to use online media and social platforms to promote Marxist views on religion, the ideas of atheism and science as well as, through propaganda efforts, raise awareness of students about the national policies on religion. The document also calls for the strengthening of students’ ability to resist religious beliefs.
As part of this anti-religion effort, the Department of Education has created an online platform Anti-Xie Jiao Instructive Education Knowledge Challenge for University Students to test their understanding of resistance to religious beliefs. This is the second such test prepared by the Department; the first was launched in 2017. The questions in the test emphasize the harm of religions and are intended to make all university students stay away from any religious groups and movements, especially those that the Chinese Communist Party has listed as xie jiao organizations (heterodox teachings).
With multiple choice answers, there are 100 questions in the test that students have to complete in a set timeframe. Below are some of the questions from the test:
The leaders of xie jiao organizations use the lie that “Believing will allow someone entry into heaven, and not believing will lead to hell” to ( ) people.
A. entice B. threaten C. entice and threaten
Leaders of xie jiao organizations always claim that they are God or Buddha in order to ( ) themselves.
A. deify B. demonize C. beautify
According to a newly-enrolled student at Henan’s Shangqiu Institute of Technology, a private undergraduate college, on the first day of school, all first-year students were informed that due to the rising number of people of faith, the central government is taking measures to limit the exposure of students to religious beliefs. A guidance counselor warned: “As university students, you must take pride in the Party and firmly believe in Marxism-Leninism.”
All new students were given an anti-religion publication and were demanded to read it until they could recite it from memory; otherwise, they will have their course credits deducted. Without the required amount of credits, students would not receive a diploma at graduation time.
As per the student, from September to October, the university convened a number of meetings for students who were threatened to be expelled if anyone was found out having religious beliefs.
The students were also ordered to take the test of anti-religious knowledge prepared by the Department of Education. “We had to answer 100 questions in 40 minutes. After completing the test, we had to send the screenshot with our names and class number to the class president,” said the student. According to him, three such tests were organized at the university from October 14 to November 3, and each student had to take one of them. “Since we were told that the results of these tests would affect whether we receive our graduation diplomas, we had to take them seriously.”
The student also revealed that without their permission, the teacher in charge of the school’s dormitory looked through students’ belongings in their rooms to check whether students are reading religious books.
According to sources, at a university in Henan’s Jiyuan city, each student was ordered to take the anti-religion knowledge test on their cellphones. Those who failed the test had one credit point deducted, and the students who did not take the test at all – four points.
Reported by Jiang Tao