02/02/2016, 09.43
CHINA
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Family of "suicidal" priest demands new investigation

The family of Fr. Pedro Yu Heping, also known as Wei Heping, were able to see the autopsy report only once: the text speaks of a cerebral hemorrhage, but adds that there are no visible injuries on the body. After the protests of family members, the police replied that "the case is closed." Card. Zen: "In China there is not only suicide, but also 'being suicidal'. The death of this priest, like the Gospel grain of wheat will bear fruit in abundance".

 

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The family of Fr. Pedro Yu Heping, a Chinese priest of the underground Church who died in mysterious circumstances in November 2015, has asked the authorities to open a new investigation into his alleged suicide. The priest's body was found on November 8 in the Fen River, a tributary of the Yellow River flowing in Shaanxi Province. Police immediately called the death a suicide; similarly, family members and friends of Fr. Yu (also known as Wei Heping) raised several doubts over the incident.

According to UCA News agency, on January 15 last the Wanbailin police (in the city of Taiyuan) showed the results of the autopsy to the family. The report stated that there was "a large hemorrhage" in the right side of the brain, but there were no signs or visible wounds on the skin. The problem, says a source, is that "the agents did not allow the family to keep the report or make a copy. No documents were shown to the public. "

Now relatives are calling for a new investigation. "How can you speak of suicide, when the autopsy is so vague? He may have died because of other reasons”.

Moreover, Fr. Wei was a "good and faithful priest ", and suicide is considered a grave sin by the Catholic Church: "He would never have committed it". For their part, the officers responded that the case "is closed and will not be reopened."

The Church of Hong Kong does not believe the alleged suicide. Fr. Wei, say several AsiaNews sources, "was very well known outside of China, he knew languages and knew how to use the internet. In short, he was dangerous for the government. Also he was a wonderful priest: he would never have killed himself ". This view is also shared by the retired bishop of the diocese, Cardinal Joseph Zen, who together with the faithful wanted to remember the soul of the deceased with a requiem mass (in the photos) on 30 December 2015.

During the commemoration, the prelate said in his homily, "we thank God for the abundance of gifts in Father Wei’s life – the grace of Baptism, the grace of priestly vocation, the grace of serving the people of God in many different ways. His age was half of mine. But I do admire him, for his commitment in educating youth, missionary work, formation of vocations, as well as serving the marginalized in society and the people living in poverty”.

After the reunification of Hong Kong to mainland China, continued Card. Zen, "Our Churches should belong to one family, but it seems we are of two different worlds. We enjoy freedom of belief here, but they (in the mainland) still suffer persecutions. Our brothers and sisters have mustered great courage to keep their faith, and have sacrificed tremendously for it [...]Their examples in faith often made us feel ashamed, but also encouraged us to cherish our freedom of religion. However, out there are someone who are not comfortable of such exchanges between us and our brothers in the mainland".

We learned, concluded the bishop emeritus, "that suicide not only exists in China's, but there is also 'being suicidal'. Despite everything, this little seed fell on the ground, we hope that it will bear fruit in abundance".

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