ERLC, ADF, Jubilee Campaign condemn Chinese religious persecution of children

United Nations
People walk in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York July 31, 2008. |

The policy wing of the Southern Baptist Convention is condemning the Chinese Communist Party for its religious persecution of children.

In a jointly-issued written statement with Alliance Defending Freedom and the Jubilee Campaign during the current session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission detailed the ongoing oppression and subjugation of children in China, particularly the regime's efforts to "sinicize" religious belief — forcing adherence to dictates of the CCP.

The CCP closed kindergartens two years ago because they were founded and operated by churches, the ERLC said in a Tuesday explainer of its work. Last year, Chinese authorities stormed a Catholic Mass in Zhengzhou and forced the children leave.

"Police monitored the church for weeks to ensure no children, including infants, attended mass. Chinese police also entered a Guangdong province house church camp last summer and arrested the preacher. The police interrogated the church members and registered the names of all children in attendance," the SBC body said.

The joint statement goes on to explain that children "have witnessed police raids and arrests of church members. Police have forcibly driven minors from church-organised Sunday schools and summer camps, and threatened or interrogated them for holding religious views.

"These compounded experiences have a nefarious effect on the child’s long-term growth, contrary to the goals expressed by government-sponsored notices that banning religious activity among children help form a 'healthy mind.'”

The document highlights the plight of Uighur children, many of who have been forcibly separated from their parents, placed in state facilities, and not allowed to practice their faith or have contact with their family.

One Chinese Christian child told the Jubilee Campaign that state police tried to harass them at a summer camp.

"I hid in a corner and saw a heated conversation between Dad and the police. Then they took my dad away. Looking at the large number of policemen behind my father and hearing the sirens, I trembled. […] Depression and sadness struck me, and I cried,” the child said.

The ERLC, ADF, and Jubilee Campaign are urging China to cease all government actions that forbid children from practicing their faith and that China scrap the 2017 Regulations on Religious Affairs it imposed on its citizens.

The three organizations stressed to the UNHCR that China is in violation of and has repeatedly failed to comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

"The Council has a number of tools at its disposal to address these issues and must take action. Such action will be more difficult because of China’s recent election to the U.N. Human Rights Council, but this makes Council action even more crucial, to preserve the legitimacy of the Council itself," the ERLC said.

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