Authorities in China have tightened their grip on the country's churches by ordering that children are to be banned from joining religious groups.
The ban also prohibits children from attending religious sermons and other activities in several provinces across the country.
Control on the country's churches began several years ago when places of worship were ordered to remove crosses from their buildings in Zhejiang province.
Earlier this month, over one hundred churches in Wenzhou, China's Zhejiang province reportedly received a notice from government officials informing them that young people will be banned from entering churches, according to a report.
Minors are also reportedly banned from participating in religious activities.
Members of the church were told not to participate in religious activities and churches were not allowed to organize a youth summer camp.
William Nee, a researcher for Amnesty International told the Daily Mail: 'At this point, it’s unclear how widespread the bans on children attending church services are in China, but these alarming reports seem to be coming in from fairly diverse areas throughout the country.'
He says that the move reflects the tightening control of religion in particular Islam and Christianity under President Xi Jinping.
'China is in the midst of a religious revival and the current government seems concerned that religion could be a means through which foreign values may 'penetrate' into China and ultimately affect political stability.'
Nee further stated that 'In an important speech on religion last year, Xi Jinping said that young people must study science, believe in science and develop a 'correct' worldview and set of values.
It could be that the government is concerned that young people going to church or religious activities may challenge their monopoly on truth and the government's ability to instill its own historical narratives and worldview through the public education system.
In 2014, there was a public outcry in China's Zhejiang province after churches were ordered to remove their crosses with some churches demolished.
Within seven months, three churches were demolished and over 360 crosses including those from Catholic churches were taken down.
Source: Daily Mail Online
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