Non-profit library closed for unauthorized branches: official

2014-09-23 01:10:06 GMT2014-09-23 09:10:06(Beijing Time)  Global Times

The Zhang Guodong branch of the China Rural Library (CRL) in Huaibin county, Henan Province was closed down on September 7 by the local civil affairs bureau for unlicensed operation, an official surnamed Liu told the Global Times on Monday, adding that the bureau has issued a written shutdown notice.

With all of its branches shut down by authorities, CRL has decided to close up shop.

"We still do not know the real reason for the shutdown. But we have to clarify that not a single branch was closed down for lack of personnel, capital or poor management," said a CRL statement on Sina Weibo on Wednesday.

"Twenty-one CRL libraries have been forced to close down. Most branches have not received any written notice or explanation for the shutdown," Li Yingqiang, a founder of CRL, told the Global Times on Monday.

"A branch is a representative office, not a financially independent organization. It is not qualified to apply for a license," Li said.

However, Liu responded that, as a private non-profit organization, the CRL is not allowed to set up branches, including representative offices, according to regulations.

Li added that the local government sent Wang Yinkui, who oversaw the Zhang Guodong branch, back to his hometown and forcibly removed more than 10,000 books from the branch library.

Liu, however, explained that the bureau was obligated to send Wang back since, as a volunteer, he had no income after the library was closed down.

Wang refused to comment on the incident.

Founded in 2007, CRL's aim was to help establish a civil society by setting up libraries in townships, according to its executive director Yang Mindao.

"All our books are legal publications," Li said.

In response to speculation that the libraries were shut down due to political reasons or missionary work, Li said that all their activities were completely above-board.


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