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Crescent Lake, Gansu Province, China

Government officials in China's central Henan province closed down a Christian-run institution dedicated to teaching children good morals, with allegations that its religious component was "brainwashing" the students. On September 14th, Ms. Zhu reported that national security officers had confiscated the textbooks that were being used for the home-based academy which offered theology classes for children.

The national security officers who arrived at Ms. Zhu's home were acting on a tip they received. In addition to closing down the academy and confiscating the textbooks, the officers seized other items belonging to the church -- including a computer. Since the ban on the academy, however, the officials have not harassed the church again.

Such prohibitions on teaching religion to children are common in China, despite the Chinese Constitution's guarantee that all citizens have the right to enjoy freedom of belief. Although threats from the government are strong, many Chinese believers insist on taking their children to church and other Christian-related activities. In response, the government has further enforced its prohibition on children attending religious events in the revised edition of its "Regulations on Religious Affairs" which is scheduled to take effect next February.

May God honour the faithfulness of Ms. Zhu, as well as the efforts of the parents who are wanting to raise their children in the ways of the Lord by instilling spiritual truths deep within their hearts. Pray that these believers will not be discouraged by the strict regulations but rather further compelled to obey His command by teaching their children His Word at every opportunity -- so when they are old, they will not depart from it. Petition the Lord to also change the hearts of those in governing authority, that they may be moved by the powerful witness of these Chinese believers.