House church members in China have been threatened with legal action if they continue to allow their children to attend church services or participate in religious activities.
A local government office in China’s central Guizhou province delivered the ultimatum to parents attending Huaqiu Church. Parents were told that their children would be barred from college and military programs if they allowed them to attend services, reports the Christian human rights group China Aid.
“This notice was sent to all of the schools in Huaqiu,” Mou, leader of the Huaqiu Church, said. “The [public security] intend to cleanse us and ask us to join the Three-Self Church.”
After sending the notice, government officials told members of the house church that they had to sign a document agreeing that they would no longer take minors to church.
The document also declares that any children who attended the church would be ineligible for the college entrance exam or admittance into a military academy, and parents would be sued.
Huaqiu church has been prevented from holding services for the past two weeks.
“Huaqiu is in a dark place,” said Mou.
China Aid reports that China’s legislation already dictates that children under the age of 18 may not receive any religious education.
The Three-Self Patriotic Movement, China’s government sanctioned Protestant church, specifically bans its members from teaching youth any religious doctrine and prohibits children from partaking in religious activities.
One church member has already left to the church so that his grandson’s acceptance into the military academy program would not be remitted.