China: Article fights policing of children’s beliefs as restrictions tighten across China

Source:                            www.chinaaid.org

Date:                                 August 25, 2017

 

Brynne Lawrence

Officials in China often crackdown on
private house churches such as this
one. (Photo: ChinaAid stock)
ChinaAid

(Lianyugang, Jiangsu—Aug. 25, 2017) In the midst of an ongoing crackdown on churches, an article published in China’s coastal Jiangsu province recently argued that children be allowed to practice religion.

The piece, titled, “The Legality of the Religious Beliefs and Religious Activities of Minors According to the Law,” responded to the Chinese government’s recent attempts to restrict children from participating in church services by expounding on laws instituted by the Communist Party. It opens with a quote from the Chinese Constitution, which states in Article 36, “Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.”

Establishing that the Constitution is the basic law of the country, the article also points to other laws that guarantee Chinese citizens equal rights from birth and respect both the child’s right to accept or reject a belief without being subjected to coercion and the parents’ right to provide religious education for their children. The article then referenced various international regulations, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, that support a child’s right to freedom of religion. It ends by refuting the notion that children who attend church have been forced to practice Christianity, which a common excuse used by the Communist Party in order to keep children out of religious institutions.

The crackdown on children attending church is accompanied by a number of restrictive measures local authorities across the nation are implementing against churches. In a town in Fuyang, Anhui, officials convened a mobilization meeting in order to implement a specialized management program targeting churches. There, the authorities were encouraged to force smaller house churches to combine into larger ones, transform house churches in state-run Three-Self Churches, and arbitrarily ban some religious organizations.

A banning similar to what would take place in Anhui recently occurred in Zibo, Shandong, where a church was subjected to investigation and wrongly prohibited from conducting religious services after officials received a report that it was an “illegal Christian gathering place.”

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by church members in Jiangsu, Anhui, and Shandong, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.


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