Hebei closes orphanage for the disabled run by the Sisters of Zhaoxian

Sisters and staff will be banned from visiting children and young people under the age of 18. The reasons: The dismantling of the structures of the unofficial Church and the prohibition of evangelization for minors under the age of 18.

Rome (AsiaNews) - An orphanage in Zhaoxian, which was home to dozens of disabled children and young people, is about to be closed by order of the local authorities. The orphanage, the "Liming zhi jia (Dawn House)", has existed since 1988, when the bishop of the time, Msgr. Raimondo Wang Chonglin (photo 2), founded the order of the Sisters of the Child Jesus, to care for the minors, together with dozens of volunteers.

According to AsiaNews sources, the disabled children will be transferred to other facilities. At the beginning, the authorities gave permission to the staff and the sisters to continue to see and meet the children and young people who have grown close to them over the years. But now the authorities have prohibited these contacts, especially with disabled people under the age of 18.

The reason that led to the closure of the institute is not clear. The prohibition on contact with minors under the age of 18 suggests that the authorities are applying the New Religious Regulations, which prohibit the evangelization of minors. In fact, the orphanage, well known in the county, has so far been one of the advanced points of evangelization in the province.

Another element that may have led to the closure is the project to dismantle all the structures linked to the unofficial Church. Msgr Wang Chonglin was the last (unofficial) bishop of the diocese, which the government incorporated into the official diocese of Xintai. Msgr Wang died on February 2, 2010. At present there is an apostolic administrator for Zhaoxian.

According to the latest statistics available (2014), the diocese has 63 thousand faithful, 67 priests, 90 nuns, 18 novices and 20 postulants.

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