Tuesday, February 23, 2010

China tells it's schools to stay away from OXFAM

China is telling it's schools to stop all ties with relief agency OXFAM. The Chinese government claims that OXFAM has a hidden political agenda. A recruitment effort to seek volunteers that OXFAM runs on college campuses may have caused the ousting.

From this Associated Press article that we found at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, writer Christopher Bodeen relayed China's statement on kicking out OXFAM.

Oxfam Hong Kong-which oversees the group's mainland China operations-is a "non-governmental organization seeking to infiltrate our interior," according to a notice attributed to the Education Ministry seen Tuesday on a job services Web site hosted by Beijing's Minzu University.

It called the group's chairman, public affairs consultant Lo Chi-kin, a "stalwart of the opposition faction," employing language more commonly associated with communist political struggles of the past.

The statement gave few details of the allegations against Oxfam, which has operated in mainland China for 20 years and works in cooperation with the government's poverty alleviation department.

China's authoritarian communist government remains deeply suspicious of most independent social organizations outside its direct control and sets strict limits on activities of international NGOs.

Oxfam Hong Kong's China Unit Director Howard Liu said the agency has never done anything to challenge Beijing's policies or laws and is only interested in alleviating poverty. He added that the notice appears to refer specifically to an internship program that places social work majors from Chinese universities at NGOs.

Messages left for Lo at his office weren't immediately returned.

The charge against Lo was apparently directed at his membership in Hong Kong's Democratic Party, which advocates direct elections and other political reforms opposed by Beijing. China took control of the former British colony in 1997 but allows it to retain its own legal, economic and political systems.

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