Protesting mother censored and suppressed

Monday, July 25, 2022

Xie Xinai, daughter of Yuan Shanshan, holds a placard that reads "Educational discrimination, I want to go to school”
(Photo: ChinaAid source)

(Beijing, China—July 25, 2022) Yuan Shanshan, the wife of Beijing human rights lawyer Xie Yanyi, recently disclosed that her six-year-old child has reached school age and was refused admission because their house is a rental and they do not have a Beijing hukou (household registration). Immediately after she disclosed the fact online, authorities manipulated her phone. They blocked her personal WeChat account, and she cannot answer phone calls.  


On the 11th, Yuan Shanshan disclosed on her personal Twitter account that Xie Yanyi and her third child, Xie Xinai, have reached school age. They followed the requirements of the Miyun District Education Commission in Beijing, where they live. After a tedious preparation process, they obtained the approval letter to study in Miyun District, Beijing. However, they were rejected when they applied to the nearest school in the city, and their request was delayed until the end of the application period and hence missed the opportunity to enroll.  


After the incident, Yuan Shanshan filed an information disclosure application with the Miyun District Education Commission in Beijing, requesting to disclose the legal basis for refusing her child’s enrollment. The official pretext is that “without the city’s household registration, school-age children without housing in the city cannot enroll in the urban district.” Yuan Shanshan questioned that the provisions formulated by the education department had no legal basis and demanded that the Miyun District Education Commission must analyze the legal basis for such provisions. 


The Miyun District Education Commission and Director Yang Fujun did not respond to Yuan Shanshan’s admission consultation. Yuan Shanshan also did not receive an acknowledging receipt from the Education Commission, and Zheng Lihua, the head of the elementary education department, informed that her children could not go to school in the urban district. 


When the negotiation failed, Yuan Shanshan brought her daughter to the Miyun District Education Committee and protested with a placard that read, “Educational discrimination, I want to go to school.” 


Yuan Shanshan asked netizens to call the Beijing Miyun District Education Commission to protect her daughter Xie Xinai’s right to attend school and urged the Beijing Miyun District Education Commission to formulate legal provisions.  


On July 12, Yuan Shanshan found out that her personal cell phone was controlled, she could no longer answer calls, and her WeChat account was blocked. “I just want my children to attend school, and it is a bit of a waste of national resources for the relevant authorities to go to war over this,” she said.  


Lawyer Xie Yanyi from Hebei, a well-known human rights lawyer, lost his freedom in an operation arresting lawyers on July 9, 2015. He and Yuan Shanshan’s third child, Xie Xinai, was born while Chinese authorities secretly imprisoned Xie Yanyi. Yuan Shanshan’s pregnancy and the wives of several other human rights lawyers left an impactful impression during their wide appeal for the freedom of Yuan’s husband. Xie Xinai is now 6 years old and will be of school age in 2022. Due to China’s outdated household registration system, even if they live in Beijing for an extended period, their household registration is still in their “hometown” and cannot be transferred to Beijing. Non-Beijing household registration makes it difficult for children to enroll in schools in Beijing. 


Compulsory education in China originally had no conditions. The government education department has the responsibility to ensure that school-age children are enrolled. Local education departments should not abuse their power to arbitrarily deprive or restrict children’s right to education. At present, it is uncertain whether Yuan Shanshan’s right to fight for her daughter’s education will be realized. 


“It’s been seven years since 709 (crackdown), and the only thing that hasn’t changed is the defending of rights,” Yuan Shanshan said.  



~Gao Zhensai, ChinaAid Special Correspondent 

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