Videos and photos of children in Shanghai receiving extra classes on illegal religions (xie jiao) during the summer vacations began to circulate on social networks and CCP propaganda agencies.
The CCP reinforces its indoctrination campaign among the youngest, giving online and face-to-face classes on how to distinguish between good and bad religion, the definition of xie jiao, their dangers, and how to fight them.
“Follow the CCP” was offered as an antidote to toxic or destructive religion, and children were encouraged to renew their commitment to uphold the Party, the Central Committee, and Comrade Xi Jinping at its core.
Xie Jiao, which is often translated as “evil cults,” is an expression used since the late Ming era and actually means unorthodox teachings.
Today the CCP uses this term to identify religious movements considered hostile because they refuse government control or their teachings conflict with Party doctrine.
Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code prohibits and punishes those who on the xie jiao list with severe prison sentences of between 3 and 7 years. In many cases they can be sentenced for merely being in possession of one of the prohibited books.
Since its inception, the CCP has used indoctrination in schools to educate new generations within the framework of communist thought. Atheism is one of the pillars of this ideology and there were not only a few campaigns that were carried out to instill anti-religious thoughts , considering them as backward and based on superstition.
The CCP versus the divine
The family tensions that this type of indoctrination generates are enormous, considering that according to one survey, 85 percent of Chinese residents hold some religious belief, with more than 300 million young people under the age of 18.
The topic of xie jiao is included in textbooks and they are part of the exams that the child must pass.
A Chinese boy told his mother after finding a Christian pamphlet in her house, “My teacher says that Christianity is a xie jiao. If you believe in it, you will leave home and not take care of me. You might as well set yourself on fire.”
Some time later, the boy found another religious brochure at home. He angrily picked up a knife and began to pierce it. He then threatened his mother to give up her belief because “Christianity is a xie jiao and you must not believe in him.”
The boy’s aggressive behavior surprised his mother. She said that as a preschooler she had told him about God and he believed her. But in a godless China these pure and innocent children have been taught to hate God.
At a primary school in Xinzheng, central Henan, the principal held a meeting with students to teach them how to oppose religion. He told them to be atheists and never believe in the existence of deities.
One of the teachers added, “If your mom goes to church and believes in God, she doesn’t want you as her son anymore.”
The Chinese Constitution grants religious freedom. At the same time, China signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992, which protects this freedom.
However, a new law on religious affairs in China that came into effect on February 1, 2018, prohibits minors under the age of 18 from participating in services in religious establishments or places of worship.
As efforts are redoubled to steer children away from religious beliefs and introduce them to atheism, the Chinese regime is also using informers to find more believers among their family and friends.
In March 2019, students at a primary school in Beijing were questioned by more than 20 plainclothes police about the religious beliefs of their relatives, bribing the children with $75 if they gave them information. They were then given a questionnaire and forced to sign an oath promising not to believe in God and to follow the Party. The form also had to be signed by their parents.
Perhaps the best example of how the communist regime works to destroy a belief and instill hatred toward it from the schools was seen with the persecution of Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline of self-improvement with strong roots in ancient Chinese culture. Its principles of truthfulness, benevolence and tolerance, along with a series of qigong exercises, made it very attractive and within a short time millions of people were practicing it. Initially recognized and supported by the regime thanks to its powerful healing effects, it became a xie jiao under the orders of Jiang Zemin, former general secretary of the CCP. He was afraid of its growing popularity and its teachings contrary to atheism.
Since the beginning of the repression in 1999, the educational system was pressured to indoctrinate young people against spiritual discipline and denounce those who practiced it. Being such a popular spiritual discipline (100 million practitioners) many of the schools and universities had practitioners among the students and faculty.
The exams contained at least one question about Falun Gong, which had to be answered. Otherwise, the student ran the risk of being expelled from the school, or worse still, imprisoned.
Huge banners were hung with slogans such as “We support the CCP’s decision to ban Falun Gong.” Elementary school students were forced to sign the banners as a sign of submission and obedience to the Party.
As Vivian, a teacher and Falun Gong practitioner exiled to the U.S. who studied in China, recounted, “I was in middle school during the beginning of the persecution. All media outlets began broadcasting propaganda continuously to create hatred for Falun Gong. My teachers started telling us students that we should be aware and stay away from Falun Gong because Falun Gong is a cult and people who practice Falun Gong are killers. They said that Falun Gong practitioners kill themselves and kill others and do crazy things.”
Many of the students who refused to give up the discipline ended up in prison.
At times, the classrooms, offices, and dormitories also served as detention centers for Falun Gong practitioners.
A teacher in Shanghai was locked up at the school where she taught for sending a petition letter. The police took turns doing the “mental work” (sixiang gongzuo) on her.
The brutality of the regime to achieve its objectives has no limit.
In 2003 Wei Xingyan, a student from Chongqing, was arrested along with a group of students for commemorating Falun Gong Day. In the detention center, she was raped in front of the inmates by a police officer.
After her arrest, the university where she was studying denied that Wei was their student.
Just a few examples among the hundreds of thousands of testimonies that speak of the consequences of an indoctrination system, which easily degenerated into a human tragedy.