Ever heard of police bribing school children to brainwash them to report on their parents and neighbors? This is one of the many unscrupulous ways the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) employs to repress people of faith and entice others to show their loyalty to the regime.
Since it came to power, the CCP has launched campaigns, one after another, to crack down on religious and spiritual groups. Not only does the regime shun the faith in divines as something "superstitious," but the party also forbids its members, including those who are retired, from having any spiritual beliefs.
Now, the communist regime is using videos and money bribes to make children report on relatives or neighbors who uphold religious beliefs, reported Bitter Winter, a magazine on religious liberty and human rights in China.
Brainwashing Children With 'Video Lessons'
The video that was played at an elementary school in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, showed a teacher instructing the students that they should keep a lookout for relatives or neighbors who are religious believers, the report said.
A boy in the April 2019 video then reveals how a group of religious believers had gathered at his neighbor’s house. The footage shows the teacher going ahead to report about the incident to the police, which subsequently results in the child's religious neighbors being arrested.
After the successful "brainwashing video-lesson," the students were told by the assistant school principal to follow that boy’s footsteps and not to believe in God or risk being expelled from school, the report said. The students were also told to fill in a form that demanded details on their family’s religious status, things they did during their leisure time, and whether strangers dropped by often.
A parent was outraged upon learning what had happened, the report stated.
The Christian parent said: “My child told me that in the video, students were told that those who don’t go to the government-approved places of worship believe in a xie jiao, and they should be reported to the police at once. By doing so, the government is misleading our children. They are so young and ignorant. My child was frightened after watching this video, but he promised not to report me to his teacher.”
“Xie jiao” or “heretical religions” is a term used by the communist regime to attack all faiths in China that lie outside of the party's officially sanctioned state-controlled religious organizations. The regime has opted for a misleading English translation for the term as “cult” or "evil cult" to lend legitimacy to its brutal repression of faith.
Bribing Children and Neighbors
In fact, since the Cultural Revolution, the CCP has told its people to report on each other, including family members.
The Bitter Winter report cited an incident from October 2019 when police officers in Hunan Province went to an elementary school and used monetary rewards and travel coupons to entice the students to reveal the religious status of their parents and relatives. The students were also warned that they would be expelled if they believed in God.
A similar tactic was also employed by the police in Lanzhou Province. In September 2019, middle school teachers and students were lured in by the police with a reward of 1,000 to 40,000 yuan (US$150 to US$6,000), depending on whether the reported person was a church head or a common believer, the Bitter Winter said in another report. The students were also told to inform about their parents if they have any religious beliefs.
Meanwhile, a headmaster in an elementary school in Bozhou City, Anhui Province, told the students that those who believe in God “will be arrested and sentenced” regardless if the person is “a child, an adult or elderly person.”
In yet another such worrisome school-wide incident of October 2018, the dean of a middle school in Zhejiang Province openly said: “The government has already labeled Falun Gong, Catholicism, and Protestantism as xie jiao—you must not believe these religions, you must only believe in the Communist Party.”
According to Minghui.org, a website that carries firsthand reports about the persecution of Falun Gong in China, since the communist party began persecuting the spiritual discipline in 1999, the regime has been using monetary rewards to bribe and encourage people to report on anyone who practices Falun Gong.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual discipline based on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, and consists of five sets of gentle meditative exercises. After its introduction to the public in 1992, the peaceful self-improvement system was practiced by an estimated 70 million to 100 million people in China alone. However, the regime launched a brutal crackdown on the practice in July 1999 that led to numerous practitioners being imprisoned, tortured, and even killed for their organs.
According to a report by Minghui.org, two policemen tried to bribe a Falun Gong practitioner’s husband, asking him to report on practitioners who distribute information flyers exposing the brutal persecution; they offered him 500 yuan (US$75) to him for each report. The husband rejected the request.
The practitioner also said that the police asked the owner of a grocery store to monitor Falun Gong adherents and promised to give the owner 300 yuan (US$45) a month, but the owner didn't agree to cooperate by betraying their own conscience.
According to a 2015 report by The Epoch Times, a notice was published in a Hebei newspaper proclaiming monetary rewards for those who report to the authorities on Falun Gong practitioners. The notice stated that the monetary rewards can range from 500 to 5,000 yuan (US$75 to US$750) for regular reports, but it can go up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,500) for reports that lead to “breaking significant cases.”
Neighborhood Monitoring System
In the past couple of years, the Chinese authorities have split up neighborhood communities into grids, where each grid consists of 15 to 20 households with an administrator assigned to watch over the residents, according to a report from Bitter Winter.
An anonymous grid administrator in Shandong Province disclosed in the report that part of his job involves keeping up to date of “each and every move that residents make, even sense when people are getting into fights or couples quarrel.” The administrator also said that he had to pay special attention to specific people, such as religious believers and those who had been released from prison. He added that he had to monitor and report members of The Church of Almighty God (CAG).
Describing how detailed the grid system watch is, he gave an example of him monitoring a Falun Gong adherent living in his neighborhood.
“She doesn’t know it, but more people besides myself, sometimes police officers, are watching over her on some days,” he said. “Like when the government holds an important major event, she is not allowed to leave the area. Even if she takes a pumpkin from her neighbor, the government will know.”
The constant monitoring comes with monetary rewards.
In Fujian Province, those who report Falun Gong practitioner or CAG members and get them detained may be rewarded with 1,000 yuan (US$150).
However, if they failed to do their job, they would be penalized and have their points deducted; one point is equivalent to 10 yuan (US$1.48), and each administrator is given 100 points at the start of the month.