Yore: China’s War on Children: Youth Banned from All Religious Worship

A young girl dressed as an angel attends the Christmas Eve mass at a Catholic church in Beijing on December 24, 2010. The Vatican and China have not had formal diplomatic ties since 1951, when the Holy See angered Mao Zedong's Communist government by recognising the Nationalist Chinese regime as …
LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images

A war on children rages in China.

While the youth of Hong Kong march for freedom and democracy, the Communist Party of China (CPC) subjects China’s youth to a brutal campaign of oppression and tyranny, barring Chinese youth from any and all religious practice and venues.

Communist Party chairman Xi Jinping and his CPC thugs are waging a brutal campaign of religious persecution and subjugation, robbing Chinese children of their constitutional and human right to religious freedom.

The CPC is an equal opportunity oppressor. All religions are being wiped from the China landscape, with churches demolished, crosses removed, and believers harassed, detained, and imprisoned in re-education camps. If the present trend continues, any vestiges of faith will be extinguished in the next generation.

The insidious Chinese Communist Party has declared that religious venues, churches, practices, education, and worship are no-go zones for all Chinese children under the age of 18. Chinese youth are being denied the right to religious freedom—a right enshrined in the Chinese constitution and a human right embodied and protected under Articles 2, 14 and 30 of the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child, signed and ratified by the People’s Republic of China in 1992. So much for the Chinese honoring international treaty obligations!

The sickle continues to scythe the Chinese child, who exists only to serve the CPC, hence the once onerous, recently modified 30-year one-child policy and, now, this extinction of religion. According to Xi, children must be indoctrinated into the atheist communist ideology. The paranoiac Xi regime is embarking on a systemic eradication of religion: a city-by-city, search-and-destroy mission of all things religious, targeting Chinese children under the age of 18, punishing them with endless reprisals and turning children into spies against their family.

According to the U.S. State Department, “The revised religious regulations implemented in February (2018) and policies enacted by the Chinese state-sanctioned religious associations inhibit children under the age of 18 from participating in religious activities and religious education.”

Religious freedom and human rights watchdog groups such as Save the Persecuted Christians, Bitter Winter, Open Doors, and China Aid are tracking and reporting on Xi’s country-wide crackdown prohibiting children from attending and participating in any religious services and worship. According to one survey, 85 percent of Chinese residents have some religious belief, suggesting that the religious freedom crackdown by the CPC is ubiquitous, with well over 300 million youth under the age of 18.

The no-go zones for Chinese children extend to all phases of the child’s life, from school to summer camps to the home. The eradication of religious practice, worship, education, and thought is sweeping across China as the onerous and oppressive implementation of Xi’s anti-religion law targets the youth to ensure the elimination of religion in one generation. Xi’s administration is employing a range of coercive tactics, both technological and terror-filled, to achieve its socialist objective of a religion-free atheistic communist state.

As primary and secondary Chinese schoolchildren broke for summer holidays between June and August, the Communist
Party wasted no time enforcing the no religion rule. CPC officials sent letters to parents, reminding them to prevent their children from going to religious places for Bible study classes or any other religious study. The enforcement grew increasingly aggressive as religious-sponsored summer camps were raided and closed down by the police.

The anti-religion campaign infiltrates the religious practices of Chinese families. Shockingly, the CPC requires children to report on their own family members who believe in God and practice religion. Yes, the long arm of the Communist Party employs its well-worn cadre of citizen spies, now including children, to spy on their parents and grandparents.

Schools are also targeted by the Communist Party as valuable sources for anti-religion reeducation camps. The indoctrination campaign employs school teachers to advise their impressionable students that as good Chinese citizens, they are not to believe in God. Even primary schools are centers of indoctrination with teachers advising children that faith and a belief in God is wrong.

No age is too young to begin the CPC’s anti-religion grooming campaign. The CPC starts early to indoctrinate kindergartners to snitch on their parents. Local police question children in the classroom on their parents’ belief in God and threaten children with pricking their buttocks if they don’t answer the question. Even kindergarten children are threatened with expulsion from school if they acknowledge a belief in God. The censorship campaign begins early to ensure that religion and religious practice is erased from the child’s experience.

This past June, Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) testified at a congressional hearing on religious freedom and warned that “under ‘Sinicization,’ all religions and believers must comport with and aggressively promote communist ideology—or else.” Smith acknowledged that “it’s never been worse than it is right now.”

Rep. Smith also cautioned that the Chinese government has imposed facial recognition cameras, restricted religious expression online, and prohibited people under the age of 18 from participating in religious services. Plus, the government is rewriting the Bible.

The anti-religion dragnet is encircling Chinese children in all youth venues. Open Doors reported that in Shangrao, Jiangxi Province, more than 40 churches hung slogans that said, “Non-locals are prohibited from preaching; no underage people allowed in church.” Even nursing babies in their mothers’ arms are denied entry.

The mastermind behind the annihilation of religion, despite its enshrinement in the Chinese constitution, is the all-powerful Xi Jinping. On Oct. 18, 2017, in a three-hour speech delivered at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi spoke of the goal to strengthen the communist party and its socialist principles, at the expense of religion: “We will fully implement the Party’s basic policy on religious affairs, uphold the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation and provide active guidance to religions so that they can adapt themselves to socialist society.”

The CCP goal of obliterating all religions is to replace God with the omnipotent socialist state and its all-knowing president.

The UN Human Rights High Commissioner has not moved to enforce the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is largely silence from international governance groups on this insidious campaign of spiritual genocide.

Hong Kong youth know the fate that awaits them, as they watch China obliterate the human rights of their fellow Chinese peers by the arbitrary dictates of Xi. Chinese youth are entitled to faith and freedom. The time to act is now. They should follow the courage and example of their peers, the Hong Kong freedom fighters, and remember the wisdom of the ancient Chinese proverb: Man’s schemes are inferior to those made by heaven.

Elizabeth Yore is an international child rights attorney. She is a coalition member of the Save the Persecuted Christians and was the former Special Counsel to Oprah Winfrey and the General Counsel of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She is the founder of YoreChildren.com.

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