Education is a big deal in China. Almost unanimously, parents in China believe their child’s only chance of success lies in education. Which is why a recent government notice in China’s central Guizhou province is causing quite the moral dilemma for Christian parents.
China Aid reports that a local government office gave parents attending a house church (another name for the underground, non-government sanctioned gathering of Christians) an ultimatum on June 23. The article states, “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.”
The resistance to proselytizing minors by the Chinese government is nothing new. Official Chinese legislation prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from receiving religious education. This is such a staunchly held belief that even the Christians in China are hesitant to evangelize among minors. They are even more hesitant to do anything to disrupt a child’s education path. So the threat of the government denying education is a new low in this unfolding story.
It is unclear, according to China Aid, whether this legislation was ordered by the Beijing-based central government or was simply a power play by the local officials of Guizhou province. Mou, the leader of the Huaqiu Church in Guizhou province, asked a government official to see the regulations from the central government. The official did not produce any written orders, but instead responded, “The higher level leadership ordered us to do this; we are just doing [as they say].”
China Aid reports the church in Huaqiu was also prevented from holding its services June 28 and July 5.
The Chinese church is no stranger to persecution and strong-arming by local officials. However, this new threat is a low blow to parents trying to lead their children to the Lord while also ensuring a stable future for them through education. Furthermore, it will likely cause greater hesitation among Chinese Christians sharing their faith with minors.