Foreign Teachers in China Punished for Spreading Christianity

The termination of one anonymous American teacher’s contract in China in early 2020- in the midst of the global Coronavirus pandemic- was only the most recent attempt at silencing his teaching of Christianity to his students. With the five years of repeated repression that teacher “G” had experienced, this final crackdown on his religious teaching was not completely unpredictable or unanticipated.

Having been a Christian evangelical pastor in the United States, Teacher G had arrived in China ten years ago as a missionary before becoming a full-time teacher in 2015. However, since the Chinese government has increasingly launched legislations and programs to infiltrate and eradicate religious education, Teacher G has seen his library books confiscated and his line of work threatened by the Communist Party.

Upon Teacher G’s returns to China after visiting his family and home in the United States, he has always remained vigilant to not proselytize and engage in overtly religious teaching and behavior. Even his library of donated American books had been confiscated by Chinese officials. Moreover, new regulations have furthered the CCP’s program of replacing all semblances of religious teaching with strictly pro-atheist, patriotic, and pro-communist education:

“Anything deemed threatening China’s sovereignty, violating the criminal code or obstructing implementation of education policy could result in teachers having their visas cancelled or denied. Education institutions will have to ensure that foreign teachers hold valid work and residence permits, have a minimum of two years of teaching experience, and have a bachelor’s degree and language teaching qualifications.”

In addition to increasing the burden of proof and pre-requisites for foreign individuals to teach in China, teachers that engage in evangelism, catechism, and fostering communications between communities in China and in America, can be immediately fired and fined without warning. In Hainan province, governments have made clear that they will even offer a reasonable cash reward to individuals that report on foreign teachers that “engaged in religious activities without permission.”

It is reprehensible that engaging in religious activity as a teacher is viewed with the same scrutiny as drug consumption and sexual assault on students, both of which are included in the same set of regulations and deemed grounds for immediate termination of employment. That religious affiliation- which in itself is no crime and has no victims- is considered as immoral as other illegal acts -that in fact have the potential to physically harm oneself or others- is incomprehensible.

Photo by Johnathan Rees on Flickr.