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    » 12/29/2006, 00.00

    CHINA

    Nine underground priests arrested in Hebei



    The priests had gathered together to study. The reason for their arrest is unknown. For some time now, the Patriotic Association has been conducting a harsh campaign to clamp down on unofficial communities.
    Rome (AsiaNews) – Police of the northern province of Hebei arrested nine unofficial priests of the diocese of Baoding on 27 December.
     
    The nine priests are: Fr Wen Daoxiu; Fr Li Shujun; Fr Li Yongshun; Fr.Wang Quanjun; Fr Wang Qiongwei; Fr Pang Yongxing; Fr Pang Haixing; Fr Dong Guoyin and Fr Liu Honggeng.
     
    The group had met to study in a place around 30km south of Baoding. The reason for their arrest is unknown. It is likely that they were arrested just because they were meeting for a time of prayer during the Christmas season in a place unknown to the government.
     
    Hebei is the region with the highest number of Catholics (1.5 million), most of them belonging to the underground Church that refuses to be subject to the control of the Patriotic Association (PA), an organization set up by the Communist Party that aims to build a church detached from Rome. The PA has launched a campaign of arrests of bishops, priests and believers of Hebei in a bid to subdue them. According to information of AsiaNews, at least six underground bishops of Hebei disappeared after arrest. Among them is the Ordinary of the diocese of Baoding, James Su Zhimin, 73 years, who was arrested in 1996.
     
    The auxiliary bishop of Baoding, Mgr Francis Shuxin, was released on 24 August by the Chinese authorities after 10 years imprisonment.
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    See also

    20/08/2008 CHINA
    Beijing, religious freedom according to the Olympics
    Foreigners are guaranteed ceremonies, meetings and even mass in their own language; Chinese Catholics from the Official Church are ordered not to hold large gatherings that last too long. Bishops and priests from the underground Church are under house arrest. Msgr. Giulio Jia Zhiguo under round the clock police surveillance. The pretty pictures of China Daily.

    10/04/2007 CHINA
    Thousands are baptised in Beijing, while in Zhejiang two priests are imprisoned
    The wave of new conversions makes it difficult to find sufficient godparents. In the interim of the Pope’s long awaited letter to China’s Catholics, the Patriotic Association’s iron fist is felt, particularly in Hebei and Zhejiang.

    17/08/2004 CHINA - VATICAN
    Eight priests and two seminarians from underground church arrested


    18/04/2006 CHINA
    Easter repression against Church in Hebei
    Local sources tell AsiaNews hard repression continues. Believers are prevented from attending mass at local churches and forced to travel up to 300 km to take part in services in provinces under less surveillance. The list of bishops and priests detained in the province is updated.

    29/10/2009 CHINA – VATICAN
    In Hebei, underground bishop joins Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
    Mgr Francis An Shuxin spent ten years in police custody. Now he is free but still under surveillance, dragged around to meetings to show the correctness of the government’s religious policy. Three bishops remain in police custody. A priest is arrested whilst two are freed to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. The Vatican is accused of ambiguities.



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