A Chinese Christian teacher who was once imprisoned for her faith said she was forced to flee China after Communist Party officials accused her of using a curriculum based on the Bible and sharing her faith with students.
On Monday, the Jubilee Campaign hosted a U.N. Human Rights Council webinar, titled “China Bans Faith for All Children,” which focused on the testimonies of victims and survivors of China’s crackdown on religion.
Esther, a former kindergarten teacher in China, shared with attendees how she became a Christian after surviving a devastating car accident in 2007. She joined a church in Guangzhou that same year and later took a job at Woodland kindergarten, where she was surrounded by other Christians.
The teacher who was locked up, shared how Chinese Communist Party officials at first politely asked her to stop holding outreach events at Woodland kindergarten and simply focus on teaching the students only what was approved by the bureau of education. She refused and continued to hold outreaches at the school for college students while teaching the kindergarteners, according to Christian Headlines.
According to Esther, the Woodland kindergarten was not an outrightly Christian school, but it taught a lot of Christian values such as humility and joy. She also says she was surrounded by a lot of other Christians. But that didn’t stop Chinese Communist Party officials from demanding her come into the bureau of education.
Once Esther was there, they interrogated her for 24 hours straight, demanding she fess up to any illegal materials or teaching she may have been doing. During this time, they also raided her classroom for “illegal” materials such as religious documents or other things.
After the 24-hour interrogation session ended, Esther asked if she could go home. When the Chinese Communist Party officials refused, she asked if she could have a lawyer, to which they also responded no. Then they held her overnight. “I was very cold and very hungry,” she said.
But things weren’t over yet. The next day they sent her to a “detention center” where she worked for long hours with 16 other women, much like a work camp. “I was questioned regularly,” she said. “I was asked over and over again, ‘Do you only have Christian materials at school? Is the current material based on the Bible? Who was involved in printing the material?’ It became clear that I was being unlawfully punished for two reasons: I am a Christian, and I taught kindergartener’s materials based on the Bible.”
“I was questioned regularly,” she said. “I was asked over and over again, ‘Do you only have Christian materials at school? Is the current material based on the Bible? Who was involved in printing the material?’”
“It became clear that I was being unlawfully punished for two reasons: I am a Christian, and I taught kindergartener’s materials based on the Bible,” she said.
In April 2015, Esther was charged with “operating an illegal business” and sentenced to two years in prison. But even after her release, Esther and her husband were constantly watched by government authorities. Afraid to cause problems for their friends and family, the couple moved around constantly, Christian Post Reported.
“We couldn’t live anywhere in China and be safe,” she said. “We have to leave in order to escape persecution and find a place where we could practice our faith deeply and peacefully.”
In China, all youth younger than 18 are restricted from enjoying the right to practice their religion or belief and freedom of expression.
Following the implementation of the Regulations on Religious Affairs in 2018, provincial governments have banned minors from attending any religious-based activities or places of worship and questioned students about their faith at schools.