China Bans School Teachers From Mentioning “God” During School Prayers.
Teachers in China who mention God or religion risk employment termination as communist authorities increasingly control education materials and expand their list of banned topics teachers are not allowed to discuss in classrooms.
According to Bitter Winter, a publication produced by the Center for Studies on New Religion which reports on human rights issues in China, the Chinese Communist Party is strictly monitoring what teachers say in schools and universities.
Teachers are observed in their classrooms by authorities who watch for “reactionary thoughts” or “improper remarks,” ensuring students are not taught about democracy, religion, or exposed to any criticism of the regime. Schools in China are government-controlled, and therefore communist in ideology.
“The government believes that religious teachers are hostile to the [Communist] Party, even if they don’t evangelize,” an English teacher from the eastern province of Shandong, said. “The CCP is afraid that they would integrate faith into teaching. That’s why they strictly control teachers and want them to follow its ideological system and eventually become puppets that cannot think independently.”
A college teacher in Inner Mongolia told Bitter Winter that last year, a central government inspection team came to the school to investigate teachers’ ideological standing in regard to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Teachers who responded by espousing “improper remarks” were punished.
“We were observed during every class,” the teacher said, adding that the Chinese Ministry of Education demanded teachers “not say or do anything against the party line in their educational or teaching activities.”
Another English teacher from Shandong told Bitter Winter that the provincial Education Bureau criticized her for mentioning “God” and “prayer” during a class on Jane Eyre, while another was criticized for mentioning mealtime prayers while discussing dining traditions in various countries.
China’s Education Bureau also released a proposal to each school that establishes an “ideological control team” in an attempt to ensure teachers don’t influence their classrooms with religious or ideological differences.
Censorship and control measures have increased in intensity since 2013, when President Xi Jinping took office, according to Bitter Winter. Since the Regulations on Religious Affairs legislation was implemented last year, schools have adopted “unprecedented measures” to keep students away from Christianity.