Dozens of young children in Beijing staged sit-in protests in front of the Beijing Education Commission building, demanding that they be allowed to go to school.
According to reports, the children, aged between 5 and 9, are from another area. Their school was demolished, and nearby schools refused to accept them. Unable to go to school, they staged protests for several days last week. Sitting on small chairs, they held banners and shouted, “I want to go to school!”
Their protest blocked the street in front of the Fengtai District Education Commission in Beijing. On Wednesday, an especially large number of children drew the attention of police, who confiscated the banners and other materials and later arrested the children’s parents.
A person from the Education Commission posted photos of the children’s protest on the Internet and said six police cars and 20 officers were dispatched to the site.
A security source in Beijing confirmed the reports on his blog. He said that on Wednesday afternoon dozens of children joined the sit-in in front of the Education Commission, and when police arrested the parents, children were crying.
Nobody from the Education Commission came out to talk to the children.
Chinese netizens took notice, though. Some said the incident is about the huge gap between the rich and the poor in China, and the failures of socialism.
Others questioned whether the regime’s highly touted nine-year compulsory school program, implemented in 1950, has really been such a success.
A Beijing-based blogger said it is a major blow to the country that small children have to beg to receive an education, sardonically saying that the socialist egalitarian mandate isn’t working.
The children’s dilemma is a result of the regime’s residency requirements, which treat migrant workers as second-class citizens.
After the arrests on Wednesday, the Education Committee’s deputy chairman, Mr. Zhong, spoke with some parents, telling them that they needed five basic identification documents that describe the family’s household situation and in particular showing that they have lived in Beijing for at least six months, a person familiar with the matter told The Epoch Times.
Last year, authorities forced the shutdown of schools for thousands of poor migrant workers’ kids in Beijing. Between June and August of 2011 nearly 30 schools for migrant workers’ children in Beijing have received shutdown notices. Approximately 30,000 students were said to be affected by the closures, according to an earlier report by The Epoch Times.
Although the Chinese regime has made promises to provide nine years of basic education to all citizens, children of rural migrant workers without residential permits in cities cannot easily attend public school. They are required to pay several times more than local residents to enroll in public schools. Migrant workers have therefore resorted to forming private schools to educate their children, with over 300 such schools having been established in Beijing alone.
Read the original Chinese article.
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