When school started for kindergarten students on Sept. 6, the grandson of retired teacher Tao Lahuai was excited to begin his first day at Macheng City Kindergarten in Hubei Province. Unexpectedly, the four-year-old child was prohibited from entering the kindergarten, where Tao used to teach.
Under the pressure of the local Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s political and legal commission and the local “610” office, a secret police force established by the regime to persecute Falun Gong, the school’s director banned Tao’s grandson from attending the kindergarten, citing the excuse that Tao and the child’s mother refused to renounce their faith, according to a report by Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that tracks the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
This is a recent example of the CCP using the “guilty by association” tactic, punishing their family members, work colleagues, neighbors, classmates, or friends to persecute Falun Gong practitioners and pressure them to give up their spiritual belief, the report said.
Tao, 70, taught at Macheng City Kindergarten for 33 years and has been retired for 15 years.
She has been detained twice in a provincial “legal education center,” commonly known as the brainwashing center, for more than 60 days for practicing the spiritual discipline, which has been under severe persecution since 1999.
Harassed and Coerced by Police and School Administrators
From mid to late May, Tao Lahuai was repeatedly harassed by the district police, the director and deputy director of the kindergarten, the director of the labor union, the director of comprehensive management, and other CCP officials, according to the report.
They came to her home and tried to force their way in, and coerced her to sign a document—a guarantee that she would stop practicing Falun Gong and stop talking about the persecution with other people. But she refused to cooperate.
In one incident, Tao and her daughter-in-law refused to open the door when the authorities showed up at their doorstep. They reasoned with the police and the local authorities from their balcony on the second floor, saying they are good people and “have not violated the law.”
Jin Sufang, the deputy director of the kindergarten, yelled at them, saying: “If you don’t sign, all the teachers in the whole kindergarten won’t get bonuses.” Implicating others is a typical tactic used by the CCP to pressure and to persecute individuals.
Minghui reported that the police tried to kick down the door and threatened them, saying, “Will you not open it? We will catch you one by one as soon as you get out!” A police officer picked up his mobile phone to record Tao and her daughter-in-law.
The daughter-in-law also took out her cellphone to record the group of police officers trying to break in and shouting at them. The neighbors all went out to watch, condemning the police’s illegal action. Tao and her family could not leave their house for some time after the incident, the report said.
The school has repeatedly forced Tao to sign the “guarantee documents” to renounce Falun Gong. The leaders of the kindergarten threatened that if she did not sign the “guarantee documents” then everyone in the kindergarten would lose their bonus.
Suspending the Child’s Enrollment and Not Refunding Tuition Fees
According to the report, at the end of August, Macheng City Kindergarten notified new students to register. Tao’s home is just 100 meters away from the school, and her four-year-old grandson met all the admission requirements of the kindergarten. Tao’s son stood in line for two days and two nights to enroll, and finally received confirmation that the boy was admitted.
They paid for all the tuition and fees upfront. Later, they received a notice from the kindergarten confirming the child’s class placement.
On Sept. 6, the first day of school, Tao’s son and daughter-in-law brought the child to the school. But he was turned away by the headteacher of the class. “Your child is not in our class, and our class does not have his name,” the headteacher said, and told them to “talk to the director and the deputy director of the kindergarten who are in charge,” according to Minghui.
The boy’s mother went to the office and spoke with the director, Yu Li, who said that her son can start kindergarten only if she and her mother-in-law Tao would sign the guarantee statement to give up practicing Falun Gong and “not spread religious rumors,” the report said.
She told the director, “We cultivate truth, benevolence, tolerance, and freedom of belief. What does it have to do with our child entering the kindergarten?” She refused to comply and told the director that she would sue the kindergarten. Then the director said, “It’s not that we won’t accept your child, it’s that his enrollment is suspended.”
It’s been a month and the school has not notified Tao’s grandson to come to class, and the tuition and fees they paid have not been refunded.