Xiantao (AsiaNews) - A church in Caibang village, a suburb of
Xiantao city (Hubei),
was burnt down deliberately on Sept. 14, a Catholic source told AsiaNews.
Parishioners, the source said, there grieved, demanded justice and called for
religious freedom in China. Local Catholics call for prayers and concern for
the case of violating their right of religious freedom, he said.
newspaper Xinde Shijiazhuang (today's edition), quoting Father Li of Hanyang diocese,
the Church community filed a complaint with the religious affairs and public
security offices of the Hubei
provincial government in order to defend the legal right of the Church.
Meanwhile, today, Catholics from other parts of the country responded online with
indignation. Parish priest Father Zhang Wei posted pictures of the devastated
church and a statement dated Sept. 15 online that gave an account of the
incident and asked for justice for the Catholic community. The doors were
Sept. 15, Father Zhang and his parishioners reported the case to police of
Xiantao city and demanded the government to conduct a thorough investigation
into the arson and penalize those responsible for the damage of the church. The church, which could accommodate about 100 people, was
nearly destroyed by fire and many furnishings of the community had been
dismantled on purpose. The
church was considered an oratory and was registered with the government.
- said the AsiaNews source - are angry at the indifferent attitude
of local government officials toward this tragedy."
"The parishioners reported to local police and
officials who were not willing to help."
church was built in 1993 with the help of Msgr. Zhang Boren
of Hanyang, the local underground bishop. The
site chosen was the same where the old church stood, before it was demolished under
Mao in 1954. Bishop Zhang died in
2005 at the age of 90.
church is located in a suburb of a new development site, where local authorities
arranged for farmers to sell their lands to developers. Most of the farmers
have been relocated except the church. According to AsiaNews sources, local Catholics suspect the arson is related to the relocation of the