03/21/2012, 00.00
CHINA
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Tomb of underground priest destroyed: "Beijing even afraid of the dead"

by Wang Zhicheng
The police smashed a tombstone because the engraving said the deceased was a "father". But he "had no right" to the title because was not recognized by the government. only relatives and a few faithful of the village allowed at funeral ceremony and cemetery.

Beijing (AsiaNews / UCAN) - "Beijing is even afraid of the dead" is the comment of a faithful from Hebei to AsiaNews reacting to reports that police destroyed the tombstone of an underground priest.

On March 19 a group of police smashed with a sledgehammer the tombstone of Fr. Joseph Shi Liming, 39, educator in the clandestine seminary of Baoding (Hebei), who died in a car accident along with six seminarians (see 02/01/2012 On line mourning for a priest and six seminarians who died in an accident in Hebei).

 

On the 19 the ceremony marking "100 days" since his death was to have been held. Relatives and faithful had planned to visit the Damaquan cemetery (Zhaoxian County) and inscribe the words "tomb of Fr. Shi Liming" on the tombstone. The police, who had issued threats against the faithful,  smashed the tombstone, the reason being, Fr. Shi was not recognized as a priest by the government, and so "had no right" to writing that designated him a "father".

Security forces have also forbidden to the faithful from other neighboring counties to participate in the ceremony. Only close relatives and some Catholics in the village were given permission to enter the cemetery.

 

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