12/01/2005, 00.00
CHINA – VATICAN
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Chinese Catholic web-sites "blacked-out" on the assault against nuns in Xian

Rome (AsiaNews) – News of the 16 nuns assaulted in Xian while defending a school from demolition has not been reported in any Chinese newspaper. The very detailed reports that had appeared on Chinese Catholic web-sites over past days have disappeared. The www.chinacatholic.org site, which had posted an in-depth report on the occurrences, was blacked-out for many hours yesterday. The site is back on-line today, but news on the assault against the nuns is no longer available.

AsiaNews was able to obtain a photo of one of the nuns beaten on the night of November 23 (see picture) by a group of 40 "thugs", sent – according to some of these – by "the district education office." Five sisters remain in hospital; two are in serious condition.

Yesterday the Vatican released a statement to say that the violence used against "defenceless nuns can only be firmly condemned." Meanwhile, AsiaNews has received statements expressing solidarity with the Church in Xian from the All Christian Union of India, which represents all Catholic and Protestant organizations in India. Groups belonging to the Movement for Life organization in Italy have also expressed their solidarity towards the nuns.

Concerning the political level, we have already reported on the Italian parliamentary motion addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A similar motion is in the works at the European Parliament.

Here is the complete list of injured nuns:

Sr Dong Jianian, (age 41), who is being treated at the Red Cross hospital where she will undergo spinal cord surgery tomorrow morning. Four nuns are being treated at the People's Hospital of Xian; they are: Sr Cheng Jing ( 34) who risks going blind in one eye; Sr Yue Xiuying (31); Sr Zan Hongfang (34) (shown in the photo), who suffered a fracture to her left arm; Sr Wang Mozhao (32).

Another 12 nuns are in convalescence; they are: Sr Zhang Xueling ( 45); Sr Ren Aiying (45); Sr He Jingru (38); Sr Fan Xiujuan (32); Sr Jia Shuiyang ( 50); Sr Li Zhuanxia (33); Sr Liu Min ( 3)1; Sr Li Zhenzhu (45); Sr Li Jiaoye (32); Sr Wang Zhenai (42); Sr Yang Cenghui ( 50); Sr Zhao Shengyan (40).

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