04/14/2021 China (International Christian Concern) – An orphanage in China’s Hebei province, which hosts dozens of disabled children and young people, is about to be shut down on the orders of local authorities.
The orphanage in Zhaoxian, named “Liming zhi jia (House of Dawn)”, has existed since 1988, since the bishop of that time, Mons. Raymond Wang Chonglin, founded the order of the Nuns of the Child Jesus. The nuns, along with dozens of volunteers, look after the needy. Given the religious nature of the orphanage, for years, they have not been able to obtain proper registration and rely mostly on donations from Catholics.
According to Asia News, the disabled children will be transferred to other facilities. Initially, the authorities gave permission to the staff and the sisters to continue to see and meet the children and young people who have grown close to them over the years. But now the authorities have prohibited these contacts, especially with disabled people under the age of 18.
While the authorities did not lay out the motive behind the closure, the prohibition on contact with minors implies that the authorities are applying the revised Regulations on Religious Affairs, which ban the evangelization of minors. In fact, the orphanage has been one of the focal points of evangelization in the province.
Beijing’s intention to dismantle all the structures linked to the non-state-vetted Church could be another element that may have led to the closure. Msgr Wang Chonglin was the last (underground) bishop of the diocese, which the government incorporated into the official diocese of Xintai.
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