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NEWS// China bans children at worship

NEWS// China bans children at worship

According to Chinese media reports Changsha, the capital of central Hunan province, held an emergency video conference in June discussing how to stabilize work in the education system. As part of that, Liang Guochao, head of the Education Bureau, stressed making a "decisive effort to prevent religions infiltrating into schools and to guide students to consciously resist religious cults so as to make the campus a piece of pure land."

Religious instruction prohibited

In neighboring Henan province, a document Separating Education from Religion was issued in July reiterating the decades-old communist policy of not allowing any religions to run study classes, Sunday schools, and summer camps for minors, and stopped any such activities immediately.

The document spoke of the trend of secularization of universal education and noted that even those higher institutes run by religious groups have turned secular and independent from religions.

Restrictions on Catholics

In an article published on Tianzhujiao Zaixin, a popular Catholic site in China, a writer named Father Lu said religious officials told him that the document was issued by the provincial United Front Department, an opaque organ of the Communist Party that liaises with religious groups as part of its operations.

Father Lu said he was asked to attend a government-run learning class about the document so that no one would interpret the document according to their thinking but follow exactly what the document instructed.

The priest also received three calls in one day from officials from three different departments, warning him to stop offering free English and music classes for children.

Inconsistent enforcement

Church sources said that it is unclear yet if the ban is a strictly enforced policy across China as some other places held summer camps undisturbed, although they agreed that the situation does not look optimistic.        

Source: UCAN (an Independent Catholic News Service)
See also: WorldNetDaily.comDaily MailCatholic OnlineWorldWatch Monitor