Imagine turning up to your university class or to see your tutor in college and being questioned about your faith and church. Imagine your professor threatening to not submit your exam papers or dissertation if you didn’t give up your walk with Jesus. Imagine being told that if you didn’t give up your faith then not only would you not be able to finish your studies, but you’d also get in trouble with the local police too.
It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it. Although professors and academics in the UK might have strong opinions, they would most likely lose their jobs for threatening to not mark course work or deny final grades based on a particular student’s religious beliefs.
But, in parts of China, some Christian students are facing pressure to renounce their faith.
Local authorities in a city in China’s northern Hebei province have been given directions on how to handle students and teachers who express their religious beliefs. Foreign teachers and students are not allowed to preach or promote religion, and local students are prohibited from speaking with others about their religion or including them in religious activities.
In Shandong province, eastern China, one student was told that if she held on to her Christian faith, she would not receive her diploma. Another student at a medical university said she had been questioned about her faith, and pressurised to renounce it, and that she might be called in to have an ‘ideological conversation’ some time soon.
Students at the Haidu College of the Qingdao Agricultural University in Shandong were reportedly warned not to attend meetings of the college’s Christian fellowship. School children in two high schools in Zhejiang province had been asked to fill out a form affirming that they did not follow a religion.
Pressure on China’s Christians has increased since the introduction of new religious regulations in February, which included banning anyone under 18 from attending church or receiving any religious education.
Hundreds of church leaders signed a public letter calling on the government to stop its ‘violent actions’ against Christians, including forcing churches to join religious organisations controlled by the government.
The Sichuan Provincial Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee said on its website it had trained more than 100 officials to help with ‘law enforcement’ in controlling churches in the province, ChinaAid said.
Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, says, “Our prayers can go where we cannot… There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.” Please pray for our church family in China, for strength to stand strong in their faith in the face of persecution.
If you haven’t already, you can also speak out for our persecuted brothers and sisters by inviting your MP to the 2019 World Watch List launch in Parliament…
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.