China Aid Association
(Beijing—Nov. 13, 2014) A boarding school for orphans in Beijing was shut down during the Chinese National holiday in early October when officials refused to issue a certificate for passing the annual inspection for what teachers claim are religious reasons.
Ms. Yu, a teacher at the faith-based Angel Orphanage, said that the school’s leaders were forced to move the school, which had been in operation in the Fangshan District of Beijing for nine years, to Guangling, Shanxi, when, for unstated reasons, the local government refused to renew the school’s permit. Some teachers only learned of the closing upon returning to work on Oct. 10 after the holiday was over.
“Before the Oct. 1 holiday, our leaders suddenly said that the children must leave, and they brought some students to Guangling, Shanxi,” Yu, said. “Then they went to the education committee to process paperwork for the students’ transfer. When some children arrived in Shanxi, the school still hadn’t found a proper place to stay.”
Yu said that the 30-or-so students who attend the school are mostly Christian children who are cared for by grandparents, aunts and uncles after the passing of their parents.
Yu also told China Aid that the school was affiliated with the China Juvenile Children Culture Art Foundation so they didn’t think they would encounter any problems with the government. The school has relocated once before from another part of Beijing after being established in Gongyuzhuang, Bejing, for less than two years.
“The authorities know that every summer, Americans come to the summer camp to preach the Gospel,” Yu said when asked why authorities would have taken such action against the school.
Both church-run schools and those that simply have primarily Christian enrollment have experienced increased persecution over the past year. On Aug. 31, the day before classes began, authorities in Fuyang, Anhui, shut down a school attended and taught by a Christian majority, leaving more than 800 students scrambling to find a school to attend. Shortly after, the authorities demolished the school in order to stop teachers who had proceeded to teach at the school despite the official closing.
On July 26, authorities in China’s southern Hainan shut down the Wisdom Heart Kindergarten, which had more than 100 “left-behind” students, the children of migrant workers, enrolled, for “failing to pass annual inspection.” On Aug. 8, authorities in neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region shut down the Hualin Foreign Language Experimental Kindergarten because it used character-building textbooks compiled by the Guangzhou, Guangdong-based Liangren Church, which founded both kindergartens.
In addition, four Christians from Liangren Church were placed under criminal detention in early August for their part in running the Guangxi-based kindergarten; they were charged with “suspicion of illegal business operations.”