Officials bar Christian minors from taking college exam, entering military

Thursday, July 14, 2016

China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Huaqiu, Guizhou—July 14, 2016) On June 23, a local government office in China’s central Guizhou province delivered an ultimatum to parents who attend a house church: if children do not stop attending church, they will be barred from attending college or entering the military. Additionally, violators of the new regulation will be sued.

“This notice was sent to all of the schools in Huaqiu,” Mou, the person in charge of Huaqiu Church, said. “They (public security) intend to cleanse us and ask us to join the Three-Self Church.”

After issuing the notice, government personnel coerced members of Huaqiu Church to sign a document saying that they would no longer take minors to church. Any children who attend the church will be ineligible for the college entrance exam or admittance into a military academy, and parents who bring their children to church will be sued.

Because of this ruling, an elderly church member was forced to endorse a document forbidding him from attending church services so that his grandson’s acceptance into a military academy would not be withdrawn.

The notice forbidding children from
attending church. (Photo: China Aid)

According to Chinese legislation, children under the age of 18 may not receive any religious education. The government sanctioned Protestant church, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, specifically forbids its members from “brainwashing” teenagers with religious beliefs and bringing children to religious activities.

Mou said, “Yesterday morning, I questioned a government official in our township, saying, ‘We do not accept the way you handled our church’s public meetings … What regulations does the central government have prohibiting [church] meetings? Let us see them.’ He said, ‘The higher level leadership ordered us to do this; we are just doing [as they say].’ Huaqiu is in a dark place.”

When other Christians asked whether or not the central government had ordered this legislation, local officials refused to answer. In addition, officials prevented the church from conducting its Sunday services on June 28 and July 5.

A translation of the notice is forthcoming.

China Aid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by Huaqiu Church, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.

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