Beijing (AsiaNews) - Two bishops of the underground community, not recognized by the Chinese government, were released after a period of "political sessions". But sources tell AsiaNews that every week dozens of unofficial priests of the communities are taken and forced to attend lectures on the government's religious policy and only released after week.
Sunday, Mgr. Peter
Shao Zhumin, coadjutor bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang) and Msgr. Peter Jin Lugang Nanyang (Henan) were
able to return to their homes. The two were held, respectively, for four weeks
and four days.
Msgr. Shao was arrested in March (see: 07/04/2012 Police pressure on underground community. Easter in the Church of Silence). His arrest was due mainly to gain information from him on the ordination of an underground bishop in Tianshui, in a clear "disobedience" to the politics of self-elections and self-ordinations wanted by the government (see: 24/08/2011 Tianshui: police arrest dozens of underground priests and lay faithful).
bishop was also subjected to political sessions to subscribe to the Patriotic
Association (PA), which promotes a national church independent from the Holy
prelate was also brought on a "vacation-visit" to the diocese of
led by bishop Lei Shiyin, ordained on July 14 without the permission of the
pope and excommunicated. Bishop
Lei showed the buildings under construction in his diocese, and government
representatives "recommended" cooperation with the government. Local sources quoted by
UCAN said that Bishop Shao he was in favour of collaboration, provided that it
is not against "the one, holy, catholic and apostolic".
Msgr. Jin Lugang was arrested on April 4, Holy Thursday and freed on Easter. His detention prevented him from celebrating any of the Holy Triduum or Easter liturgies. The police and government officials took him "on holiday" and also "advised" him to join the PA.
AsiaNews sources confirm that this style of detention, political sessions, "advice" to join the Patriotic Association and release after a few weeks has become very common this year. "Dozens of priests are taken every week - sources say - and are released only after several days." In many areas, including Hebei, all underground communities are afraid of arrest and fear has stopped the activities of the faithful. "Even the controls are more avid: home visits, telephone, internet .. they don't miss anything."
According to some, the increase in arrests and controls is due to the attempt to provide security before the Communist Party Congress, to be held next October, during which the leadership of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao will change hands. For others there is a clear pattern of wanting to hasten the demise of the underground community by absorbing them into the official church.