China Expels Children From Christian Orphanage

Monday, January 14, 2008

By BosNewsLife News Center

BEIING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)-- Children and their caretakers spent another Sunday, January 13, in uncertainty after they were expelled from their Christian-run orphanage in China's Hubei Province, as part of a crackdown on Christian activities by local authorities, an official said.

In an open letter to Chinese President President Hu Jintao, obtained by BosNewsLife, orphanage leader and senior house church leader Ming Xuan Zhang said security forces raided the building in a Sanhe village near Sanhe City on Christmas Day last month.

He said that after presenting an eviction notice, local officials forced him, other care-takers including his two sons, and the orphans onto the street.

"Some corrupt political officials, who are always deceiving their superiors and subordinates, bring disgrace to you and our Party," he wrote the president.


However, "I am determined to sacrifice my life for Jesus and our peaceful nation, even though I may be imprisoned or sentenced to death, if only for the hope that China will be really harmonious, strong, prosperous, free in religion, and full of love."

The children slept in a hotel room as Zhang frantically searched for space to rent for the orphanage, confirmed China Aid Association (CAA), a major advocacy group involved in the case. Government officials apparently continue to hinder Zhang from renting space for his orphanage by threatening landlords who offer to lease to him.

"The five orphans are respectively only seven, eight, eleven, twelve and fourteen years old. They have no capacity to live and they now have had to suffer and starve on the pavement," Ming Xuan Zang said. "Perhaps they will endanger the society one day, which is
not good for building the well-off society," he added.


Advocacy group China Aid Association, which is involved in the case, said this was no isolated incident. "Unfortunately, government officials had not limited the Christmas Day eviction to a single affair. On three separate occasions, landlords were threatened not to rent space to
Zhang and the orphans, or face criminal charges and prison time," allegedly because of his Christian faith.

"Government officials continue to persecute Ming Xuan Zhang for his leadership role in the Chinese House Church," which is running the orphanage. "Affectionately known as "Bike", [he] has experienced severe persecution and has been imprisoned 12 times by government officials, who are trying to isolate him from the Chinese House Church alliance," an umbrella group, CAA told BosNewsLife.

In 2006, United States President George W. Bush reportedly requested a meeting with Ming Zhang during his visit to China, but that attempt was blocked Communist Party officials. Zhang and his son were kidnapped at a train station after CPC officials discovered he had been invited to meet the President, CAA said.

Rights groups claim China has stepped up a crackdown on devoted Christians to prevent attempts to use the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games to spread Christianity. At the same time President Hu has been quoted as saying that he wants to promote more religious freedom
in the Communist nation. (With BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos).

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