|Chinese children attend a youth camp in
this undated photo.
(Taiyuan, Shanxi—Sept. 6, 2019) Authorities in China’s Shanxi province forcibly removed all children living at a Catholic-run orphanage and placed them in the care of the state on Aug. 26.
Bethany Home for Children with Disabilities, located in Taiyuan, Shanxi, was founded in 1997 by Yang Yunxian, a Catholic. The orphanage has taken in more than 100 children, most of whom were left by their parents due to their disabilities. Some have cerebral palsy, and some can’t stand or eat by themselves. Many of the children required different types of surgery, and NGOs often visited the children on holidays, bringing clothes, food, and toys.
Early last month, however, the Xiaodian District Civil Affairs Bureau unexpectedly visited Bethany Home and notified its staff that the children were to be sent to the state-run orphanage because they were suspected of “illegally adopting children.” The person in charge of the home told the authorities they took care of the children, but on Aug. 26, officials arrived at Bethany Home and removed all the children from the premises. Elderly people, who also lived at Bethany Home, were taken away as well.
The Bethan Home staff and director were very sad when the children were taken away, and many of them cried. A staff member said that Bethany Home had been operating for many years with no government intervention, and the children and their caretakers had shared a special bond.
“They were taken away suddenly, which is not right,” the staff member said.
Mr. Huang, a Catholic living in China, said the authorities are beginning to crack down on religiously-owned homes for orphaned children because they fear the personnel might teach religion to the children.
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