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    » 03/12/2010, 00.00

    CHINA

    Priest arrested in Fujian for organizing winter camp for 300 university students



    Fr. John Baptist Luo was arrested on 3 March. Three other priests have been issued arrest warrants, but not yet detained. Another three have to pay a fine. Fr. Luo told AsiaNews: "I'm ready to go to jail. I would be happy to serve as a witness to Christ and follow the example of many holy martyrs. "

    Fuan (AsiaNews/Ucan) - An underground priest from the Diocese of Mindong (Fujian) was arrested for organizing a camp with 300 students. Three other priests who work with him have received an arrest warrant, not yet  carried out, a further three were fined up to 500 Yuan (about 50 Euros). Weeks before his arrest, the priest had said: "I would be happy to serve as a witness to Christ and follow the example of many holy martyrs."    

    Fr. John Baptist Luo, 39, and 6 other priests from the underground church had organized a winter camp for four days with 300 students, divided into two stages, in late January and early February. On 3 February, the public security came to the camp (in the church of Saiqi) and ordered the priests to cancel the event. The priests refused and explained the situation to the students present there, inviting those who were afraid to leave the area and reassuring those who remained that the priests would always be with them. Only 20 of the students left. The next day members of the public security subjected the priests to a long interrogation but did not make any arrests.  

    In those days, Fr. Luo told AsiaNews that he was "ready to go to jail," that he had "nothing to fear" and that he was "proud to be a Catholic priest, eager to profess his faith with actions." He added: "I would be happy to serve as a witness to Christ and follow the example of many holy martyrs."    

    Fr. Luo is very active a evangelist, even on the internet, where he has a very popular blog: http://blog.sina.com.cn/frluo.  

     Since March 3 he is in "administrative detention" in a guest-house (prison) of the Fuan government. Three other priests, Fathers Guo Xijin, Miu Yong and Liu Maochun received arrest warrants but so far the police have not carried out the arrests. Three others were penalized to pay 500 yuan, but the faithful say that they prefer to go to jail rather than pay the fine.  

    The Diocese of Mindong is almost entirely made up of believers of the underground Church: out of 80 thousand Catholics, more than 70 thousand are unofficial, very organized and vibrant, with over 50 priests, 96 nuns and 400 lay catechists. Their bishop is Mgr. Vincent Huang Shoucheng, 86. Mindong also has a patriotic bishop, Mgr. Zhan Silu, who is followed by a few faithful.  

     

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    See also

    29/07/2010 CHINA
    Xiwanzi underground priest arrested again after three years in prison
    Fr Peter Wang, an underground priest of the Diocese of Xiwanzi, was only able to take a few steps as a free man. The police arrested him again immediately after his release. He had been originally arrested for celebrating mass (with the permission of the government). Local Catholics: "The police want to force him to join the Patriotic Association."

    25/08/2008 CHINA- VATICAN
    Msgr. Jia Zhiguo taken by police
    The arrest took place shortly before ceremonies concluding the Olympics. The bishop had been under house arrest for months. Catholics fear a worsening of persecution and arrests now that the Olympic “truce” is over.

    08/09/2009 VIETNAM
    Catholics freed from prison. The Bishop of Vinh seeks solidarity
    The 19 believers were arrested for hoisting a prayer tent near the ruins of the ancient church. The government has decided not to give back the land, instead it will build a public garden and a private resort. According to local authorities there are no Catholics in the area and there is no need for churches.

    17/05/2007 CHINA
    Two underground priests from Wenzhou soon to be freed
    Shao Zhoumin, vicar general of the diocese of Wenzhou, and Fr. Jiang Sunian are set to be freed this summer. The two were charged with having falsified their passports. The “Insieme per Prato” association mobilizes itself for their release.

    09/07/2010 CHINA
    Ningxia, priest and nun murdered by former seminarian
    Wenping Zhang, 43, was arrested yesterday afternoon in Hohhot. He had been fired and promised to kill Fr Joseph Zhang. Victim’s funerals will be held on 11 July.



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