China: Christian children forbidden from attending church; parents threatened

The Communist Party is believed to be becoming progressively more suspicious of the influence of Christianity, which is experiencing significant growth in China.Reuters

Church members in China have been threatened with being sued and their children barred from college, a persecution charity has said.

According to Texas-based China Aid, parents who attend Huaqiu Church, a house church in central Guizhou province, were told if they didn't stop bringing their children to church, they would not be allowed to attend college or a military academy.

In addition, anyone who brings a minor to church will be sued.

Huaqiu Church leader, Mou, said a notice detailing these rules was send to all the schools in the local town. "They intend to cleanse us and ask us to join the Three-Self Church [China's state-approved church]", he explained.

The church has also been prevented from holding its Sunday services over the past two weeks. "Huaqiu is in a dark place," Mou said.

China Aid said that Chinese legislation forbids children under the age of 18 from receiving any religious education, and that children may not attend even state-approved churches.

The Chinese government has been taking an increasing hard line on religion, particularly against Christianity which is experiencing dramatic growth in the country. More than 1,500 churches have been demolished or had their crosses removed in Zhejiang province over the past three years, and pastors and lawyers who opposed the campaign have been imprisoned on charges widely regarded as concocted by the authorities.