By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The October 12 raid came as authorities were apparently upset that Abeka Academy, linked to the Pensacola Christian College in the United States, provides homeschooling courses.
Homeschooling, rolled out worldwide, gains popularity in China, but the government claims it violates the Chinese constitution. Five staff members were detained in the raid, including the Chinese director, Wang Jian, well-informed Christians said.
The next day, a Christian school in Jiangsu Province’s city of Zhenjiang was reportedly raided by Chinese forces.
“Officers took ten children into custody, along with three teachers and three parents. The pupils were quickly released. However, at last report, the others were still detained,” added advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC).
During the incident, all staff and students were arrested, according to Christian rights investigators. Although the students and most staff of the faculty were later released, the principal of the school remained detained Thursday, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The law enforcement crackdown on Christian education comes after new restrictions for religious institutions in the country were issued on September 1, Christians said.
The new rules set “new principles and responsibilities” for organizations offering religious and faith-based education.
Even before the crackdown, Christian parents in China encountered challenges “due to the indoctrination imposed on their families by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” VOMC noted.
They also experience difficulties when trying to provide Biblical training to their children.
Churches frequently face punishment for allowing children to attend worship services, and authorities have raided several youth Bible camps, Worthy News learned.
Christians say the crackdown increased under Xi Jinping, who became president of China in 2012, ushering in an era of increased assertiveness and authoritarianism.
He has been pushing China’s rise as a superpower while also launching crackdowns on corruption groups deemed dangerous to his power base, such as Christians.
Xi even had his ideas mentioned by name in the constitution – an honor reserved only to Mao Zedong until now.
The “Xi Jinping Thought” means that any challenge to the president will now be seen as a threat to Communist Party rule.
Christianity seems incompatible with his “Thought” and the CCP’s ideology.
Despite the crackdown, Christianity continues to spread in China, with Christians now comprising at least some 7 percent of the 1.4 billion population, say rights monitors.
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