China: Religion Targeted Beginning With Kindergarten

April 03, 2023
Primary school children in China

In eastern China, beginning with kindergarten, the local Communist authorities are striving to banish all religious sentiment from the souls of children. As of February 2023, local authorities have ordered parents of kindergarteners to sign “a pledge form of commitment for family not to hold a religious belief.”

“In the past, the higher-level education department made it compulsory for kindergartens no to be superstitious and not to participate in cult organizations, but did not mandate kindergarten children’s families not to believe in religion or participate in any religious activities.”

This teacher from a kindergarten in Wenzhou, (East China) who testifies on condition of anonymity, denounces the new measures taken by the Communists against religion.

Because, according to information made public by ChinaAid – an NGO based in the United States and very critical of the Beijing regime – local authorities issued a decree on February 15, 2023, ordering parents of kindergarten students to sign a profession of practical atheism.

Specifically, the pledge states that parents “do not hold a religious belief, do not participate in any religious activities, and do not propagate and disseminate religion in any location.”

In addition, kindergarten teachers are also “encouraged to stay firm to [the Chinese Communist Party’s] ideals and beliefs, do not hold a religious belief, and do not propagate religious beliefs,” to follow the country's laws and regulations, and to “never join any Falun Gong and other cult organizations.”

For the record, Falun Gong is a Buddhist sect that appeared in 1992 and was quickly banned by the Beijing authorities, who see in it the remnants of “feudal superstition” and a “sinister cult.”

The profession of atheism for parents of kindergarten students came from Communist officials in the Longwan district of the city of Wenzhou, a city in which 150,000 Catholics live who are becoming rather experience with terms of religious persecution.

In 2014, for example, local authorities launched a campaign to demolish crosses that lasted nearly two years, the ChinaAid group also reports. More than 2,000 crosses were demolished, with authorities claiming that the structures concerned had been built illegally.

In 2017, the local government also banned caregivers, teachers, and all civil servants from entering churches for prayer and worship. For several years, Msgr. Shao Zhumin, Bishop of Wenzhou – a member of the so-called “underground” Church, appointed to this post in 2016 by the Holy See – has regularly faced arbitrary detentions, the last dating from the beginning of 2023.

Immediately afterward, the Communists banned all minors in the region from going to Mass or taking catechism classes.

However, the Chinese Constitution ensures that every citizen “enjoys freedom in matters of religious belief,” even if this freedom is reserved for “normal religious activities” which include Catholicism, Islam, certain Protestant, or Buddhist sects.

But, the more the years pass, the less the red mandarins are inclined to tolerate the existence of any form of religious life whatsoever. The “sinicization” of the Catholic Church called for by Xi Jinping during his re-election as head of China is part of this radical atheism of which children are the first victims.