Chinese Catholic priests sent to labour camp

 Three Catholic priests in mainland China, have been sentenced to three years of forced labour, for carrying out their ministry without consent of the government. The Cardinal Kung Foundation report that Fr Pang Yongxing, 30, was arrested in his home by the Chinese security police in December. Fr Wang Limao, 32, was arrested on Palm Sunday, 24 March, while celebrating Mass. Fr Ma Shunbao, 50, was arrested while celebrating Mass on Easter Sunday, 31 March. The three priests belong to the underground Church in Baoding, Hebei, the Foundation said. The court sentenced them on 7 July, for 'disturbing the peace of society' under the 'cult' law. They have been transferred to the Balizhuang labour camp in Baoding, Hebei. The Kung Foundation also report that about 18 Catholics were arrested for trying to make a pilgrimage in May to Dong Lu in Baoding. Six of them were released after paying a total of $3,850 for an "illegal pilgrimage," the group said. Another dozen or so, unable to pay the fines, are reportedly still in prison.

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