Chinese Communist Party officials have ordered primary school teachers to sign a form requiring them to teach a Marxist religious view, strengthen atheism education, and actively promote socialism, according to a persecution watchdog group.
China Aid, a U.S.-based nonprofit that monitors religious persecution in China, reports that CCP officials recently distributed a "Teacher’s Promise to Not Believe in Any Faith" form to Longwan District School in Wenzhou in China’s Zhejiang province.
The form, which requires each teacher’s signature, includes directives under four “publicly announced commitments.” Teachers are required to: Firmly establish a Marxist religious view; strengthen atheism education, and refrain from believing in any religion or participating in any religious activities.
Teachers are also forbidden from teaching about religion, disseminating religious information, or engaging in such activities. But they are required to actively promote socialism and new civilization.
International Christian Concern reports that teachers who are CCP members were required to receive and sign three copies of the “Communist Party Member’s Promise to Not Believe in Any Faith.” One copy was for self-retention, and two copies to be handed in after the meeting. The filling date of all the forms was pre-filled as Nov. 30.
Schools in China are government-controlled and financed and therefore communist in ideology.
Known as “China’s Jerusalem” due to its large Christian population, Zhejiang has seen an increase in religious persecution in recent years. It’s been the target of a large scale cross removal, church closures, and the detention of pastors and church leaders.
In 2017, the CCP tightened restrictions on faith classes in Zhejiang province, warning against the religion’s so-called “Western” ideas. Provincial governments subsequently banned minors from attending any religious-based activities or places of worship.
In 2018, more than 300 Christian children in two high schools in the region were asked to fill out a form stating that they did not follow a religion.
Children who did not comply were reportedly denied access to opportunities at school, such as being elected as class representatives for special events.
In another region, a teacher suspected of sharing her faith with schoolchildren was charged with “operating an illegal business” and sentenced to two years in prison.
Bob Fu, president of China Aid, previously stressed that China has launched a “war” against children’s faith.
“For the first time since the Cultural Revolution of Chairman Mao in the 1960s, Chinese children are forced to renounce their faith in public by the Chinese Communist Party,” Fu said.
According to estimates, there are 3.5 million Christian children and teens in China, he said, yet they are “forbidden” to practice their faith.
Fu emphasized that China’s continued crackdown on freedom of thought, conscience, and religion violates Article 18 of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants.
“The international community should or must confront this,” he said. “This is a direct violation.”
On Dec. 7, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom once against designated China as a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.”
“The United States will continue to work tirelessly to end religiously motivated abuses and persecution around the world, and to help ensure that each person, everywhere, at all times, has the right to live according to the dictates of conscience,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Monday.
China is also ranked among Open Door USA's World Watch List of 50 countries where it's most difficult to be a Christian.