ICC NOTE: Chinese authorities in Beijing and the coastal province of Anhui are launching an investigation into the religious beliefs of university students, faculty, and staff through the use of survey questions. The use of questions in a survey was possibly and attempt to disguise the true intentions of the investigation. However, the specificity of the questions and the timing as house church crackdowns have increased present the survey to be nothing more than an attempt by the Communist Party to root out more religious minorities. The Communist Party in China is attempting to quell the rise of Christianity as according to some reports outnumber the 80 million party members by over 30 million individuals. Some Church members fear the beginning of another cultural revolution similar to Mao’s between 1966-1976.
1/8/2016 Beijing, China (China Aid) – Authorities in Beijing and China’s coastal Anhui province launched an investigation into the religious beliefs of university students, faculty and staff by issuing a survey with questions regarding religion.
The survey sent to Beijing Technology and Business University reads:
In order to implement the National Regulations on Religious Affairs according to the plans of the Party Committee, schools will collect statistics on faculty, staff and students.
1. Please designate if you have religious beliefs (if the answer is “yes,” please list what the religion is.)
2. If you are an academic advisor of postgraduates, please list the students involved in religions and get the statistics back before closing time on Dec. 23 via SMS, Fetion, WeChat, e-mail, telephone, etc. Please reply if you know someone [at the school] involved [in religion].
Similar surveys were also sent to schools in China’s coastal Anhui province, according to students.
“Each class monitor is required to check whether or not each student has religious beliefs, targeting Christians in general,” Wang, a student at a Hefei, Anhui university, said. “If you are religious, you have to go report everything about your church and other Christians.”
Another document, titled “Concerning the Plan to Investigate Graduate Students who participate in Shouwang Church,” was issued on social media. The document demanded that all graduate students who attend Shouwang Church, which has a branch at a Beijing university, be investigated within one week. Furthermore, it requested that all graduate students who are members of the Chinese Communist Party be investigated for religious beliefs.
Christians suspect these measures are in preparation for a crackdown on house churches, with some church members claiming the government intends to launch another Cultural Revolution. Despite this pressure, Christians are refusing to provide any information about their churches to the authorities in order to prevent persecution.
Other levels of education have also been under scrutiny. The government commanded many kindergartens not to conduct Christmas-related activities. They stipulated that no Christmas decorations may be used and that school staff could only refer to a Christmas tree as a “New Year tree” in front of students.
China Aid exposes religious freedom abuse, such as that experienced by students and faculty in academia, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.