A kindergarten teacher in Communist China was imprisoned for simply sharing her faith with the students, The Christian Post reports.
Esther, 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 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."
After this horrible affair, she was charged with "operating an illegal business" and sentenced to two years in prison in April of 2015. But even after she served her time, Chinese Communist Party officials have kept her and her husband under surveillance. "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," Esther said.
In Communist China, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to freely practice their religion, though, for Esther, it is unclear how far that right stretches to adults.
Photo courtesy: Chris Liu/Unsplash
John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.