Chinese families are coming under pressure to keep the Christian faith from their children.
Chinese partners of Release International, an organisation supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, said that schoolchildren are being made to declare whether they are Christians. Those who state that they are must then sign a declaration promising to renounce Christianity.
Children in China have already been officially banned from attending church services for several years.
Release International's Chinese partner, Bob Fu, said that there are ramifications if families encourage their children to follow the Christian faith.
"If parents and grandparents refuse to cooperate in making their children denounce their faith, then their job security is jeopardised," he said.
"Cases show that grandparents can lose their public health and welfare if parents fail to dissuade their children from believing in Christianity."
Fu said he knew of one mother who was arrested by police after she was caught teaching her five children about religion at home. It was apparently her own husband who reported her.
"You can only imagine the kind of trauma this is causing right inside the family," he said.
Other partners with links to China say that the Communist Party is "cracking down on the church across the board" and has "declared war against Christianity".
The report from Release International coincides with Chinese New Year celebrations, when many families will be gathering together to mark the start of the lunar year of the dragon.
China is one of the countries of concern highlighted in Release International's 2024 Persecution Trends report. The report says that persecution is deepening in China and that many churches, both official and unofficial, have closed down because of the level of state interference.
Release CEO Paul Robinson explained: "The Communist Party portrays Christianity as unpatriotic and pro-Western, and therefore a threat. It wants to control the Church, and what it can't control, it seeks to eliminate."
Originally published by Christian Today