Chinese Schools Told to Cut Ties with Oxfam

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Feb. 24 – In a move that is sure to reverberate through the NGO community in China, the Chinese Ministry of Education has told Chinese colleges and universities to bar the campus recruitment efforts of the international relief agency Oxfam, accusing the group’s Hong Kong office of harboring a political agenda.

In a statement that gave no details of the allegations, the ministry said that the Oxfam Hong Kong was a “non-governmental organization seeking to infiltrate our interior.”

Oxfam responded to the notice by suspending a training program for young graduates on the mainland, stating that it will remain suspended until the organization receives and explanation from the ministry.

“As far as we’re concerned, as an independent NGO, we’re free of any particular political party or government or religious group or indeed business group, and we’re really proud of our independence,” Oxfam Hong Kong’s Director General John Sayer told the BBC.

“And we’re not associated or affiliated and we have no agenda apart from working for a world that is freer of poverty,” he said.

When questioned on the matter today, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang said that he was unaware of the issue. “That being said, we require these NGOs to observe Chinese laws and regulations in carrying out their activities in China,” Qin said.