An extract from the Bible included in secondary school textbooks in Beijing has been removed following sharp criticism that it was propagating “western” values.
The Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences (BAES) had included the extract from the Book of Genesis in textbooks meant for middle school students.
Criticism against inclusion of the extract spiralled recently, though the textbooks had been in use since 2002.
The government is yet to say why the decision was made a decade after the extract was made part of the curriculum.
The tabloid Global Times reported it had been included “to broaden students' horizons by introducing them to Western mythology”.
“Columnist Wang Xiaoshi published a commentary on Hainan-based news site cwzg.cn, saying that the textbook violates China's Education Law, which mandates that China adopt the principle of separation of education and religion,” the newspaper said in a report.
The Communist Party of China-ruled country is officially an atheist state but Christianity is increasingly attracting more and new followers.
“Though official government figures put the number at around 23 million Christians in 2010, a Pew Research Centre report estimates that there were, in fact, close to 68 million Christians in China — an astonishing number considering the growth of Christianity has largely been by way of faith conversion,” a report in the Diplomat said earlier this week.
Another report said persecution against them too is growing.
US-based China Aid said last year the persecution of Christians in China was on the rise.
“A number of factors led to the increase, including intense persecution in Zhejiang province as a result of the Chinese government-sanctioned ‘Three Rectifications and One Demolition’ campaign, which targeted both house churches and government-registered Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) churches and claimed to eradicate ‘illegal structures’,” the report said.
It added: “In reality, the campaign indiscriminately removed and demolished crosses on church buildings and, in many cases, demolished the entire church building, regardless of whether the building had been previously approved by the Chinese government.”