Henan bans foreign students from conducting on-campus religious activities

A sign on the campus of Renmin University of China forbidding the
on-campus practice of religion (Photo: ChinaAid)


(Henan—July 14, 2017) Under a set of new regulations taking effect this month, international students planning to attend universities in China’s central Henan province will be subjected to the censorship of their religious beliefs.

According to an article in the South China Morning Post, Henan province’s departments of education, public security, and foreign affairs announced a new set of regulations aimed at monitoring the religious beliefs of international students on June 5, which go into effect this month. The Chinese government says these new rules “regulate schools’ admission, the cultivation and management of international students and for the convenience of international students studying in schools in China,” but the regulations will ban students from practicing their religious beliefs on campus and require them to take courses in political theory as well as Chinese law, culture, and customs. This will effectively prohibit them from holding religious gatherings or preaching on school property, according to the aforementioned article.

The South China Morning Post also said the new regulations stipulate that foreign students attending institutes of higher education be assigned an instructor, echoing the “political instructors” given to Chinese students. It is unclear whether or not their roles will be similar.

This notice from the Henan Provincial Three-
Self Patriotic Church and the Henan
Provincial China Christian Council forbids
churches from organizing youth camps over
the summer. (Photo: ChinaAid)

In addition, the Henan Provincial Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee and the Henan Provincial China Christian Council—local branches of China’s two state-run Christian organizations—published a document yesterday, stating, “The temperature is very high during the summer. To conform to the country’s related legal policies on youth health, no summer camps that involve youth and students shall be organized by any church. Please stick to this notice if it differs from previous notices.”

Disallowing students’ practice of religious beliefs on campus and the insistence on indoctrinating them with Chinese ideology, as well as the policing of their summer religious activities, is a severe violation of Article 36 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, which states, “No State organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.” China should respect the individual beliefs of both citizens and foreigners and apply this guarantee equally to both.

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as the clamping down on the religious activities of students, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

ChinaAid Media Team
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