China: ten more Catholic clergy arrested


 Eight Roman Catholic priests and two seminarians were arrested by police in China ten days ago, the Cardinal Kung Foundation has learnt. The group were attending a spiritual retreat in the village of Sujiazhun in Quyang county in the province of Habei. Only three of the ten people arrested have so far been identified: Father Huo Junglong, Father Zhang Zhenqian and Father Huang. The foundation says nine of the detainees are from the diocese of Baonding. In 1996 the then 72-year-old bishop of Baonding, James Su Zhimin was imprisoned. Auxiliary bishop Francis An Shuxin, 54, was jailed the following year. Neither Zhimin nor Shuxin have been heard from since. The Kung Foundation recalls that Zhimin's predecessor, bishop Joseph Fan Xueyan, died in prison. In addition to the nine people arrested in the diocese on 6 August, a further eight priests from the 'underground' diocese of Baonding are currently in prison. Across China an unknown number of people are in prison or under house arrest for their faith. While the government allows the 'official' Catholic churches to function, it has regular clampdowns on the 'underground' church loyal to the Pope. Many Christians of other denominations, as well as members of the indigenous Falun Gong spiritual movement are also being persecuted. Source: MISNA

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