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  • » 07/29/2010, 00.00


    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."

    Beijing (AsiaNews) – On July 24th authorities in northern Hebei province arrested Fr. Peter Wang, a priest of the Diocese of Xiwanzi. The priest was stopped immediately after being released from prison, where he spent the last three years for having celebrated a Mass with government permission. The authorities want to force Fr. Wang to join the Patriotic Association.

    According Ucanews.com, some relatives of the priest were waiting - along with about 20 lay people of the diocese - outside the gates of the Tangshang Jidong prison. As the gates opened at 4 am, Fr. Wang was able to take only a few steps before being grabbed by 4 men, who pushed him into a car and brought him back into the prison.

    About an hour after the gates were reopened to allow two police cars pass. The crowd stopped the car to talk to the priest. According to one source, Fr. Wang told them "not to create problems with the police. He added that he was in good health and asked us to let him go".  Several hours later, he phoned his sister to say that he was "doing well".

    Catholics believe that local authorities would like Fr. Wang to “work in the light of the day by accepting the authority of the government run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association". The fast "re-arrest," they explain, comes from the fact that the police fear that the faithful will hide and protect him once back home.

    Fr. Wang was arrested July 24 2007. The police took him together with two other priests from a Catholic family who had hidden them in Xilinguole (Inner Mongolia). At the trial, held on 11 November of that year, the allegations against him were finally revealed: organizing an illegal meeting [the feast for the consecration of a church in Guyuan, dedicated to the Sacred Heart], he used an official parish seal [in China legally binding signature-ed] without government permission”.

    The Guyuan church was built - with the kind permission of the authorities – with the offerings of the faithful, who self-taxed themselves for two years.  Those who had no money to give volunteered for manual labour.  The consecration ceremony July 18, 2006 was attended by more than 7 thousand people, along with 21 priests and a bishop of the underground Church.

    Xiwanzi diocese is a diocese of the underground Church, with 15 thousand faithful, about 260 miles north of Beijing, near the border with Inner Mongolia. For the past several years local police, incited by the PA, have carried out a campaign against priests and bishops of the underground Church. The auxiliary Bishop of the diocese, Mgr. Yao Liang, who disappeared in police custody July 30, 2006, was released in January 2009 and died after about a year.  There are 20 believers and two priests still in prison.

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    See also

    12/03/2010 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. "

    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.

    13/01/2007 CHINA
    Released two of the nine underground priests arrested in Hebei
    Their arrest dates to December 27th. Both of the released suffer ill health. The others still detained are pushed to sign up to the Patriotic Association. The vice President of the AP denies the arrests and also that there is a campaign against the Church in Hebei.

    19/11/2013 CHINA - VATICAN
    Two priests from underground Church in prison. Doubts about Xi Jinping’s "unprecedented" reforms
    The two young priests gave catechism classes to adults in Qinyuan . Faithful who helped them are fined. Some Catholics hope that the concentration of power in the National Security Council will lessen patriotic association’s power and enhance religious freedom. Others fear the situation will worsen because reforms reaffirm the Communist Party monopoly of power.

    10/04/2007 CHINA
    Thousands are baptised in Beijing, while in Zhejiang two priests are imprisoned
    The wave of new conversions makes it difficult to find sufficient godparents. In the interim of the Pope’s long awaited letter to China’s Catholics, the Patriotic Association’s iron fist is felt, particularly in Hebei and Zhejiang.

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