Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - Chinese schoolchildren asked to renounce their Christianity - Open Doors UK & Ireland
08 August 2023

Chinese schoolchildren asked to renounce their Christianity

Schoolchildren in China are being asked to renounce their Christian faith as part of growing restrictions and oppression from Chinese authorities in some parts of the country.

Increasing restrictions are making life hard for the church in many parts of China (illustrative image)

Students at a public school in Zhejiang Province, central China, were asked to fill out questionnaires to declare their religious affiliations, a local source called Li* has told Open Doors. Li explains that at least two families from their church are affected by this: their children, in their pre and early teens, innocently wrote down on the questionnaire that they are Christians. That’s when the trouble started.

"We signed it because we had no other choice." Schoolchildren's parents

Having completed the forms, the children discovered that their answers had been escalated to the higher school management. At that point, teachers invited the parents and children in for separate meetings. At these meetings, they were asked to sign a declaration renouncing their faith. If they refused the request, there was a possibility that the children would be expelled from the school.

“We signed it because we had no other choice,” shares one of the parents affected. “It will affect our kids’ future.”

Affecting the church

This discrimination is having an impact on Li’s church, as the parents feel unsure about whether it’s safe for them to keep coming.

“Currently these families are not attending our services,” says Li. “It is their first time to experience this kind of treatment and they are still in the middle of processing their feelings. It is shocking for them.”

It’s already against the law for anybody under 18 to attend church, since the introduction of 2018 regulations. Li believes this latest move in the school is part of tightening control from local authorities – in this case, because there is an upcoming international event in their area in August and September. Tightened restrictions and strict implementation of rules by the local authorities are common when big events happen inside China.

Escalating restrictions

This news comes after another recent story about churches in Zhejiang Province being ordered to display signs saying ‘Love the Communist Party, love the country, and love the religion’ outside their churches. Over the past few years, Chinese Christians have experienced a number of escalating rules and restrictions from the authorities. Buying a Bible online is illegal, sharing Christian content online requires a permit and CCTV is often installed in churches. Belonging to a house church is illegal – only the Three Self Patriotic Movement is permitted by the Chinese authorities, and this church is heavily monitored.

"It is shocking for these families." Li, Open Doors contact

Several Christians have been arrested and sentenced, often charged with illegal business operations, fraud, acting against the state's security, or the vaguely worded 'stirring up trouble'. Persecution is worse in particular regions, and life is particularly difficult for believers from ethnic minority backgrounds.

These changes are main contributing reasons to China’s quick rise up the Open Doors World Watch List – from 43 a few years ago to its current position at number 16.

Standing strong in faith

Despite the oppressive restrictions faced by Christians in many parts of China, faith is rising in the country and people are taking great risks to attend underground churches. Li emphasises how vital it is that Christians – particularly young Christians – are equipped to follow Jesus and answer difficult questions. “We have learned the great importance of preparing our young believers on how to cope with pressures in any form due to their faith at any time,” she says. “They do not know what and how to answer.”

Please join the Chinese church in praying for God’s grace and wisdom in the face of growing restrictions – that His children will remain strong in serving Him, sharing the gospel and uniting with other brothers and sisters.

*Name changed due to security reasons.

Please pray


  • That the Holy Spirit will guide the affected families in this trying time, and that they will be comforted from this traumatising experience
  • For Christians in China to be trained and equipped to stay strong in their faith in the face of increasing persecution
  • For the authorities to be able to understand and receive the love of Christ.
Standing Strong 2023


Come and meet the risk-takers of the persecuted church at this year’s Standing Strong - this autumn, events are happening in Birmingham, Leeds, Bangor (N. Ireland) and Cambridge. Find your nearest Standing Strong and book your free place today!


Book Standing Strong

Share this story

Get involved

Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.