At the beginning of August, the arrest of four Christian teachers Wang Minghai, Wan Hongxia, Han Yanlei, and Xie Zhifeng was formalized in Wuhu, a prefecture-level city in Anhui province. The four Christians are part of a group of ten teachers arrested on May 27, 2021, when their Christian school was raided by the police. The other six teachers have been released on bail.
Since the school is not affiliated with the Three-Self Christian Church, the authorities claim it is an “illegal operation.” Local Christians see the raid as part of a larger crackdown on all forms of education not directly controlled by the CCP.
International media reported about the new rules against private tutoring, which destroyed a $120 billion industry with serious consequences on Chinese economy. Most media explained the move with the desire to limit the huge costs incurred by Chinese families, which sometimes induce parents to limit the number of their expensive children to one. This is now no longer encouraged by the CCP, which is afraid of a potential demographic crisis.
While this may be part of the motivations, many Chinese believe that the new rules also serve an ideological purpose, as the CCP was not able to control the content of private tutoring, including tutoring imparted online from abroad.
The new rules are part of a massive effort to control education, and align it with the CCP directives about filtering the teaching of all subjects through “red” lenses and making sure that Marxist interpretations prevail in all fields.
Independent Christian schools that may have been somewhat tolerated in the past are among the first victims of this campaign. The crackdown is seen as part of a wider campaign against independent education.