Update: Lawyers find charges against Christian kindergarten teachers baseless

Cheng Jie and Du Hongbo with their
young children in an undated photo.
(Photo courtesy of Du Hongbo.)

China Aid Association

(Liuzhou, Guangxi—Feb. 21, 2014) The lawyers for two Christians placed under criminal detention on Wednesday China’s southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region confirmed that the charges of “engaging in illegal business operations” are baseless.

Cheng Jie, the director of the Hualin Foreign Language Experimental Kindergarten in the Yufeng District of Liuzhou, and Mo Xiliu, who teaches and is in charge of logistics at the school, were taken into police custody on Tuesday (https://chinaaid.org/2014/02/two-women-taken-into-custody-from.html).

ChinaAid spoke with Cheng’s husband, Du Hongbo, about his wife’s detention. “The kindergarten has all the legal papers, but they said the textbooks didn’t have book numbers or publishers… The kindergarten uses some textbooks on character building compiled by ourselves. The rest of the textbooks are all from publishing houses. That’s why they focus on the textbooks we compiled and claim we are engaging in illegal business.”

Du also said the kindergarten has been under surveillance since it was founded.

Wang “Joshua” Dao, the pastor of the Liangren Church in neighboring Guangdong province, which founded the kindergarten, said that the textbooks compiled by the Christians were never intended for outsiders, let alone to be sold to the public. Wang, now lives in the U.S. ((https://chinaaid.org/2010/06/wang-dao-released-on-bail-awaiting.html).

Pang Kun, Mo’s lawyer said he doesn’t believe the actions of his client represent a crime. “This is especially true of my client, who does not know at all what this is about. Mo just did the daily work that she should be doing and did not have the intention of committing a crime. It does not constitute an illegal business operation.”

“Judging from the material we have now, I’m sure Cheng’s conduct does not constitute a crime,” Ge Yongxi said of his client. “The textbooks are just for internal use. When young children come to class, character education is a unique feature of the kindergarten…recognized and approved by their parents. From the information we have, the kindergarten does not charge extra fees on these textbooks.”

The kindergarten has been persecuted before according to Du. “As there is no way for [the government] to exert pressure on the employees, they told the landlord not to lease the residential unit to us. We had no choice but to move out.”

Du said he believes that the Liuzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau don’t want to openly suppress Christians for religious reasons.

ChinaAid Association expresses its concerns on the deprivation of citizens’ religious belief by the Liuzhou police. ChinaAid will continue to monitor and update the situation as it becomes available.

A translation of the detention notices received by Cheng and Mo’s families can be read below:

Detention Notice from Yufeng Branch of Liuzhou Public Security Bureau of Guangxi

Liu Gong Yu Ju Tong Zi (2014) No. 00459

Mo Jihua,

Pursuant to Article 80 of the Criminal Procedural Law of the People’s Republic of China, this bureau placed Mo Xiliu under criminal detention on suspicion of “illegal business operation” at 16:00, February 19, 2014. She is currently being detained at Liuzhou Municipal Detention Center of Guangxi.

Yufeng Branch of Liuzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau of Guangxi

Seal: Yufeng Branch of Liuzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau.

Date: February 19, 2014

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