Relaymedia

Christian Students in China Must Live in 'Absolute Obedience' to Communist Party, Says Government

( [email protected] ) Jul 27, 2016 11:28 AM EDT
Christian students in China are being forced to live under "absolute obedience" to the Communist party as the government continues to tighten its grip on the growth of Christianity.
Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976. ALAMY

Christian students in China are being forced to live under "absolute obedience" to the Communist party as the government continues to tighten its grip on the growth of Christianity.

China Aid correspondent Guo Baosheng said in a translated report that video has emerged of students at a graduation ceremony at Zhejiang Theological Seminary singing the Chinese anthem, which indicates that the institution is controlled by the State.

"It is obvious the seminary has degenerated into absolute obedience to the Communist Party's so-called Christian pastors' education base, becoming a Communist Party school dressed in the cloak of Christianity," Guo wrote.

"In this way, they submit to Caesar and [operate] contrary to God. They distort the true way [to God], and [these actions] will certainly accelerate the demise of the Three-Self Church and its seminary."

The seminary's president, Pastor Pan Xingwang, reportedly supports the "Three Rectifications and One Demolition," or "Cross Demolition" campaign, which has seen the removal of over 1,5000 church crosses since 2013. Chinese authorities have also detained and arrested more than 250 attorneys, pastors, and human rights activists for protesting the cross removals.

During the 2016 spring semester opening ceremony, Pan reportedly said: "Over the past year, within the Christian churches of Zhejiang, something took place that we do not want to see, and we do not want to hear. Please learn this lesson and pray for the churches, remind students to be more alert, make a clear faith, care for the churches, respect the law and be good shepherds of the new era."

As earlier reported, Chinese officials recently warned Christian parents that if they continue to take their children to churches not approved by the government, their offspring will be banned from attending college or serving in the military, and will face legal action.

China Aid notes that according to Chinese legislation, children under the age of 18 may not receive any religious education. The government sanctioned Protestant church, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, specifically forbids its members from "brainwashing" teenagers with religious beliefs and bringing children to religious activities.

Officially, the People's Republic of China is an atheist country. However, the Pew Research Center puts the number of Christians in China at 67 million, 58 million of whom are Protestant and 9 million Catholic.

According to Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule, China is poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation by 2030 despite such overwhelming opposition.

"By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon," he told The Telegraph. "It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change."