Christian Children in China Face Bullying, Discrimination, and Restrictions at School

A villager climbs up the steps toward a cross near a Catholic church on the outskirts of Taiyuan, North China’s Shanxi province, December 24, 2016. | REUTERS/Jason Lee

A Chinese Christian has opened up about the severe persecution he and other Christian children have endured for their faith, from bullying and discrimination at school to restrictions on freedom of thought and religious expression.

“Growing up as a Christian in China was a difficult experience,” a Chinese Christian identified only as “Enoch” said during the United Nations Human Rights Council Side Event: China Bans Faith for All Children webinar, hosted by the Jubilee Campaign on Monday.

Because his father was a pastor, Enoch’s entire family was monitored by Chinese Communist Party officials, neighbors, and surveillance cameras 24 hours a day.  The family was prohibited from worshiping together in church, while Enoch and his siblings were ordered to refrain from sharing their faith at school.

“We were to only believe in the CCP,” he recalled. “If our religious affiliation was discovered, we would receive punishment from the school.”

Eventually, Enoch’s father was arrested and detained for his faith and Christian leadership. While his father was imprisoned, Enoch faced intimidation and threats by his peers, teachers and government officials.

“I faced unkindness and discrimination at school from teachers,” he said. “Government officials threatened my dad that if he did not cooperate with them, they would hire again members to come to my school to beat me up. They also told him that I would not be able to go to college, as I would never pass the political screening because I come from a Christian family.”

On Enoch’s birthday, his father was granted a phone call. “We felt it was God’s blessing to our family,” he said. “I talked to my father over the phone and I didn’t really know what to say. So I asked him just to sing me the Happy Birthday song. And at the end, we both burst into tears.”

At that moment, Enoch was “overwhelmed with sadness,” realizing how different his life was because of his Christian faith.