The Chinese government issued a notice before the October 1 National Day holiday requiring local schools to strengthen their control over elementary and middle school teachers’ travel abroad. The regulation also applied to kindergarten and retired teachers. Some provinces and municipalities have already collected the passports from the teachers and some places require teachers to go through a review and approval process by education authorities before leaving the country.
At present, at least the teachers from Fujian, Shandong, and Inner Mongolia have received notices that they require the approval from the authorities when leaving the country. Places such as Xiamen in Fujian and Tai’an in Shandong have requested teachers to submit their passports and travel permits to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Whoever violates the regulations will be severely punished.
Teachers in Xinjiang and Tibet were already placed under intensive control years ago.
Radio Free Asia interviewed some teachers in Xiamen City, who are very unhappy about the new measure, as many Fujian residents have a number of overseas relatives.
One local education bureau official said, “We don’t understand it. I also handed in my passport. We were told to turn in our passports and we have to hand them in. We don’t dare to do anything. Sometimes we just go out to visit some relatives, and we feel very confused. This is the way the current situation is and we do not dare to disobey the leaders and the policy.”
Ever since 2012, China has gradually tightened its control over the people’s travel abroad. The scope of the civil servants and workers in public institutions who are required to submit passports has increased from the division level and above to everyone. Approval is required before leaving the country. However, the new regulation to control elementary and middle school teachers, including retired teachers, is the very first time over the past 40 years.
Source: Radio Free Asia, October 1, 2018