Students at the Xilinhaote Middle School (Inner Mongolia) are prohibited from taking part in religious activities inside and outside schools, on pain of expulsion. Parents are prohibited from educating children about religion. The country-wide directive was issued during the coronavirus crisis.
Rome (AsiaNews) – A directive sent to Middle School no. 6 in Xilinhaote (Inner Mongolia) says that students are banned from taking part in religious activities in or outside their school; parents are prohibited from educating their children about religion; and no religious organisation can operate in schools.
AsiaNews obtained a copy of the directive, which includes an open threat. Failure to obey restrictions will be followed by “necessary steps” taken against students, parents and noncompliant teachers, such as expulsion of children and teachers from school. The directive demands that parents and students sign it. Interestingly, the document is dated 25 March 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
In China, wiping out the "virus" of religion has become one of the most important tasks of the Chinese Communist Party. A year ago, President Xi Jinping, in a major speech, urged teachers to reject "misconceptions and ideologies," including religious ideas. The struggle is above all against Christianity, branded as "western" and therefore despised in the name of patriotic nationalism.
This kind of material has been circulated in other Chinese provinces. Meant to counter the religious revival in society and interest shown by young people in Christianity, the new regulations on religious activities ban faith-based education for young people under 18.
Regarding the participation of students at the Xilinhaote Middle School n.6
Letter to parents:
In order to uphold the socialist educational line and maintain order in school education, we inform you that – in accordance with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the Law on the Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, the Law on Education of the People's Republic of China and the rules regarding the Party, different ethnic groups, religion and educational policies, as well as taking into consideration the reality of schools:
the socialist school uses Marxism, Mao's thoughts, Deng Xiaoping's theories, and Xi Jinping's ideas on socialism for a new era to educate students, transmit scientific-cultural knowledge, train new socialists who have great aspirations and moral integrity, acculturated and with a strong sense of discipline, banning all forms of religious activity.
No religious organisation can build or establish religious facilities within schools. It is strictly forbidden to induce students to engage in religious activities. It is forbidden to force or induce students to participate in religious activities. Should the aforementioned occur, teachers, students and other individual social organisations must report them to local authorities and the relevant agencies, which will take the necessary steps in accordance with the laws and regulations in place.
Students are the builders and heirs of socialism, so they are required to voluntarily accept patriotic, collective and communist ideologies, to form a scientific point of view of the world and life. Therefore, during their schooling, students can neither participate in religious activities, legal or otherwise, nor wear religious signs.
Parents or others must not force students to profess a religion or participate in religious activities. Schools have a duty to educate students who take part in religious activities. Those who do not change their attitude will be handed over to the relevant agencies for appropriate action.
Parents and schools must work closely together, respect and implement the aforementioned principles, fight against the infiltration and intrusion of religion in education, ensuring healthy growth for teenage students.
Xilinhaote, 25 March 2020