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Underground Catholic Bishop and Priest Arrested in North China

Posted by Author on August 23, 2007

Press Release, Cardinal Kung Foundation, August 23, 2007-

Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Bishop Jia Zhiguo, the underground Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Zheng Ding in Hebei Province, was arrested again by the Public Security and Religious Bureau at approximately 9:00 in the morning of August 23, 2007 (Beijing time). We do not know the reason of the bishop’s arrest, nor do we know his current location.

In the last 5 days, there was a marked increase in the number of security police for putting Bishop Jia under strict surveillance 24 hours a day and there were police vehicles parking outside of the bishop’s residence. Anyone coming to visit the bishop was summarily arrested. A priest and a layperson were arrested and interrogated for 8 hours before they were released.

Since the release of the China letter by His Holiness Pope Benedict XIV, Bishop Jia was told several times by the religious bureau that he was not allowed to publicly support and promulgate the Pope’s China letter. We do not know for sure whether this order has anything to do with the bishop’s arrest this time.

A few days ago, the Religious Bureau forcibly put a sign “The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association” vertically at the side of the gate of bishop Jia’s church! The sign could possibly still be there.

Bishop Jia is 73 years old and was ordained a bishop in 1980. He was previously jailed for approximately 20 years and has been under strict surveillance for many years by the Chinese authorities. He takes care of approximately 100 handicapped orphans in his house. As far as we know, he has been arrested eleven times since January 2004.

In addition, another priest, Father Wen Daoxiu, of Beiwangli Village, Qingyuan County, Hebei, was also arrested on August 15, 2007 by the Public Security Bureau after the priest had just finished offering a Holy Mass. We do not know his whereabouts and the reason of his arrest. Father Wen is in very poor health with three partially blocked blood vessels to his heart. He is in his mid-fifties.

Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: “It is apparent that the aforementioned actions by the Chinese government is not only contrary to the spirit of the China letter issued by the Pope almost two months ago, but also contrary to the generally accepted principles of human rights and to the spirits of the Olympic games.

“The freedom-loving and powerful countries of the world should take into greater consideration – consistently, and persistently, and not haphazardly – all human rights violations in China when forming and implementing their political and commercial decisions in relation to China. Does a country consistently violate the most basic human rights deserve to be the host of 2008 Olympic Games?”


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