Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Oxfam HK case

April 9, 2010

Oxfam HK has been known for its work with grassroots NGOs, especially those involved in the more sensitive work of migrant workers and "rights protection." The Notice was apparently for internal consumption but appeared on the website of the Nationalities University (Minzu daxue) for a short time where it attracted the attention of international human rights and media organizations. A source close to Oxfam HK said that this case has caused some problems for Oxfam in terms of how they should present themselves to both the Chinese government, and its international audience and donors in Hong Kong and abroad. According to this source, Oxfam HK has not handled the issue well, though it does not appear to have endangered Oxfam HK's overall operations in China.

Below is the translation of the Notice, thanks to the efforts of China Digital Times.

"To the education working groups of all Party committees of provinces, autonomous regions, and provincial-level municipalities; all Departments of Education; the Education Department of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Military Corps; and all Party committees affiliated with higher education facilities:

According to information obtained by relevant agencies, since 2005, the Hong Kong-based China office of Oxfam International has consistently collaborated with domestic “rights protection” (weiquan) organizations to launch training programs for “university student volunteers.” Recently, these organizations have decided to employ “Internet mass publicity” methods, directly sending recruitment information to advising centers at domestic colleges and universities. This information encourages teachers to recommend people. Oxfam then screens out “suitable candidates” and arranges internships for them at partner “rights protection” organizations in major cities. The internships will last from March to June 2010.

Hong Kong-based Oxfam is one of the NGOs dedicated to infiltrating our interior regions, and its leaders are the backbone of opposition factions. In view of the special nature of our education system, particularly colleges and universities, we must sever and remove any contact with the organization, and not have any form of cooperation with it. Education bureaus and colleges and universities in all regions must unite in thinking and be on heightened guard. Recognize the ill intentions of Oxfam in recruiting “university student volunteers”, and diligently execute surveillance measures.

Presently, be advised of the following related demands:

1) Increase inspection and control of Oxfam’s recruitment of “university student volunteers” at our colleges and universities. We must especially intensify, in a targeted manner, management of college and university career advising centers and campus employment information pages. College and university television broadcasts, school publications, notice boards and walls, and campus Internet networks are not allowed to publish any information related to these training programs.

2) Require that all college and university career advising centers and all college departments not be allowed in any manner to recommend people for these training programs. If you discover teachers or students have participated in such programs, you must immediately adopt appropriate dissuasive measures and successfully execute educational advising actions.

3) In the normal examination and approval process of student community activities, resolutely prevent Oxfam and its cooperating organizations from using financial support or other forms of support to publicize on campuses. Intensify the organizational management of employment and internships for graduated students. Diligently execute employment-advising services, move forward in expanding the strength of employment assistance for particular groups of graduated students, and prevent graduated students from moving towards these “internships” at “rights protection” organizations.

While each region and higher education institution develops these measures, all must show a clear political stand, maintain a vigilant attitude. Furthermore, all must tighten up internally while keeping a relaxed outward appearance, pay attention to systems and methods, and prevent people with ulterior motives from seizing an opportunity to cause trouble. Upon encountering serious situations, all must report in a timely fashion to the local party committee, government, and education bureau."

Feb. 4, 2010, Party Committee of the Ministry of Education

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