Scholarship and education

An update on volunteer Eckart Loewe

Eckart Loewe and his class (source)

Chai Jing has posted a follow-up on the case of Eckart Loewe, the volunteer teacher in a remote Guangxi village who shut down his blog this month after national fame threatened his ability to remain in China.

In December 2009, Chai interviewed Loewe (who goes by the name Lu Anke 卢安克 in China) for CCTV's "One on One" program. The profiles that appeared in other media outlets over the next few months apparently brought unwanted attention to his work with poor rural children whose parents have gone off to find jobs in the cities.

Although the precise details of Loewe's sitiuation are still unclear, op-ed commentators and bloggers alike have been critical of regional authorities, who seem so concerned about their image that they have threatened to expel someone for doing good works.

Chai contacted Loewe, who provided reassurances that he will be fine so long as he is left alone:

Eckart Loewe's Reply

by Chai Jing

Eckart Loewe's recent closure of his blog brought him considerable attention, as well as some talk about deportation. We wrote to ask about the situation, and after obtaining his permission, we have posted the gist of his responses here, so as to eliminate worry and speculation:

1. His life and work in Banlie is normal. He has not left China, and he has not been asked to leave the school.

2. He hopes that the media and the public "will not put pressure on the Guangxi Public Security Department or education offices." His "necessary status" is in the process of being resolved.

3. He hopes that no one else will come to see him in Banlie, and he hopes that the media will stop contacting him. He said that his has had a "major effect" on his life at the moment. He said, "What everyone can do to help me is to not come to Banlie and disrupt my work."

As for the concern and well-wishes people have expressed, he gives his gratitude.

See also: Loewe isn't a Foreign "Lei Feng" and Shouldn't be a Novelty Either, an op-ed by Dai Zhiyong that ran in last week's Southern Weekly. Translated by Tim Hathaway.

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