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    » 12/06/2010, 00.00

    CHINA - VATICAN

    The return of the Cultural Revolution: Chinese bishops imprisoned or hunted like criminals

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The Patriotic Association and the government want to force Catholic clergymen to take part in the upcoming Assembly of Catholic representatives, an organization that is contrary to Catholic teachings. Wanted as a “dangerous criminal”, one bishop has disappeared. Another one was abducted from his official residence where the faithful had taken and defended him after days in isolation.

    Rome (AsiaNews) - AsiaNews sources are reporting that the official bishop of Hengshui was forcibly removed from his residence by police and taken to an isolated location. The police had besieged the prelate’s house for hours, struggling against believers and priests who had formed a wall in an attempt to defend the freedom of their bishop.

    Another bishop of Cangzhou, has disappeared and the police threatened the diocese: either he hands himself in to police custody or they will issue an arrest warrant throughout China identifying him as a "dangerous wanted criminal."

    In a format reminiscent of the period of the Cultural Revolution, these events took place today.

    Everything is due to the forthcoming meeting of the representatives of Chinese Catholics, which the Patriotic Association wants to force official Chinese bishops to attend to elect the presidents of the PA and the Council of Bishops, the Pope defines both bodies as against the Catholic faith, because they aim to create a Church independent of Rome.

    To ensure even a meager participation, the PA has put under house arrest some of the bishops who participated in the illicit ordination of Chengde, on 20 November. On that occasion, eight bishops were kidnapped and forced to attend the ceremony, condemned by the Holy See as "a serious violation of religious freedom."

    Since the illicit ordination, Mgr. Hengshui Feng Xinmao had been kept in isolation, banned from seeing any faithful, under constant police supervision. Days ago a very elderly priest of his diocese died, and the bishop asked to at least be allowed to celebrate the funeral. After much resistance from the police, and his threat to carry out a hunger strike, he was granted permission. At the end of the funeral the faithful and the priests surrounded him and brought him to the episcopate, from where he had been missing for nearly a month and set up a watch to make sure he would not be placed in isolation again. The police besieged the bishop'shouse, and after several hours managed to take the bishop back to prison.

    The other episode involves Mgr. Li Lianggui, bishop of Cangzhou. After the illicit ordination, the bishop disappeared, perhaps because he didn’t want to be forced to take part in the meeting of representatives of Chinese Catholics. The police, after having searched throughout the diocese, threatened all the faithful either he hands himself into police custody or they will issue an arrest warrant throughout China identifying him as a "dangerous wanted criminal.

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    See also

    01/12/2010 CHINA - VATICAN
    Next clash between Beijing and Holy See: Assembly of Chinese Catholics Representatives
    The gathering appears set for 7-9 December. It takes a few weeks after the illicit ordination of Chengde. Fears, tensions and the resistance of the Chinese Catholic to the Patriotic Association.

    07/12/2010 CHINA – VATICAN
    Chinese bishops deported to attend Patriotic Assembly
    The gathering, incompatible with the faith of Catholics, aims to elect the Presidents of the Patriotic Association and the Council of Bishops. Some bishops have gone into hiding to avoid having to participate, while others have been taken against their will. The bishop of Hengshui, seized and torn from the safe cover of the faithful, dragged to Beijing.

    25/07/2011 CHINA - VATICAN
    Beijing pontificates against Vatican "threats"
    The State Administration for Religious Affairs defends the integrity of the two excommunicated bishops (Leshan and Shantou) and mimics the Vatican saying that the Holy See’s gesture inflicts "wounds" and "sadness" among Catholics in China. It reaffirms the decision to go ahead with the ordinations without papal mandate, but the "resistance" to their dominance of the faithful, priests and bishops is growing. Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao should tackle the violation of the "harmonious society" and corruption of representatives responsible for religious politics.

    30/03/2009 CHINA – VATICAN
    Persecution in China as Vatican meeting on China opens
    An underground priest is arrested in Hebei for celebrating Mass. Controls are tightened ahead of the anniversary of the death of Mgr Joseph Fan Xueyan, killed under torture in 1992. Like him many underground bishops and priests have disappeared or ended up in camps. Official bishops are also under pressure to submit to the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. The Commission for the Catholic Church in China begins a meeting today in the vatican.

    01/12/2009 CHINA – VATICAN
    National Assembly of Catholic Representatives postponed again
    The assembly is of one the bodies the Pope views as “irreconcilable with Catholic doctrine”. The meeting was planned for the second half of 2009. In the past Cardinal Zen asked Chinese bishops to avoid the event.



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