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Daughter of Christian Activist Denied School Place

July 7, 2003

For Immediate Release

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that officials have refused to issue a household registration certificate (hukou) to the young daughter of Beijing-based Christian activist Hua Huiqi, resulting in her being deprived of the right to attend school.

Sources in China told HRIC that Hua Huiqi intended to enroll his six-year-old daughter in school this autumn, but because local police have refused to issue the necessary residential permit, the registration period for the upcoming school year has now closed without Hua’s daughter obtaining a school place. According to HRIC’s sources, a police officer with Beijing’s municipal Public Security Bureau told Hua Huiqi that residential permits had been issued to other children, but that none would be issued to Hua’s child.

HRIC’s sources believe the PSB’s action is in retaliation for Hua’s recent support for protesters in front of the municipal government offices. In June this year Hua had gone to the municipal offices to register a complaint about the forcible removal of his family from their home in an urban redevelopment project. Outside of the government office he encountered more than 1,000 other people protesting various injustices and persecutions. According to HRIC’s sources, upon observing the rough handling that some protesters received at the hands of the police, Hua said to one of the police officers, “Don’t you have a wife or children, elderly parents, brothers or sisters? No one would come here if they didn’t have a grievance. We should have pity on others, as we would have others pity us.” Hua Huiqi then turned to the protesters and said, “I am a Christian. Your human rights are bestowed by God, not by man.” Angered by Hua’s words, the police denied him entrance to the government offices and threatened that if he left Beijing they would ruin his family. The PSB also put Hua under close surveillance, and assaulted people who attempted to visit Hua at home, including a handicapped youth named Liu Anqi.

Hua Huiqi and his wife, Ju Mei, have been subjected to long-term persecution as leading members of China’s underground church. Over the past year the family has been subjected to official oppression for their protests alleging official complicity with business interests in Beijing’s redevelopment program.

“It’s bad enough that Hua Huiqi is persecuted for peacefully exercising free speech to defend other people’s basic human rights,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “But it’s intolerable that an innocent child should be subjected to discrimination and deprived of an education as a means of punishing her father.” HRIC calls on the Chinese government to issue Hua Huiqi’s daughter with a residency permit so she can attend school with other children, and to refrain from other forms of persecution against the family.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher 212-268-9074 (English)
Liu Qing 212-239-4495 (CHinese)