CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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Priest disappears at driving test

BEIJING (AsiaNews): Father Yang Jianwei, from the parish of Anzhuang in Baoding, Hebei, has been missing since he went to take a test for a driving licence with some of his parishioners on April 15.

Father Yang, who belonged to the unofficial Church community, which is not recognised by the government, went to the Number Three Driving Test Venue in Dingxing for his test and was about to go out on the road with his assessor when he disappeared, somewhere between noon and 12:30pm. His mobile phone was turned off.

The assessor asked officials at the driver education centre for the footage from the surveillance cameras installed at the venue to see if they could shed some light on the matter, but his request was denied.

Later that afternoon, Father Yang’s family arrived at the driving centre and then went to a nearby police station to report his disappearance. After a long wait, a police officer contacted the driving venue to check out the case.

However, even the police were denied access to the CCTV footage, unless they first received a clearance from the Public Security Bureau of Baoding City.

Consequently, the local police did not investigate further. Father Yang’s whereabouts remain unknown.

People from his parish then sent out messages through social media to alert other Catholics to help find the missing priest.

“We have to protect the human rights and safeguard the security of our priests,” one said. “We will not just watch our priests go missing. We will continue to look for Father Yang.”

Father Yang, who is in his 40s, is active in pastoral work of Anzhuang parish.

Recently, priests in Xuanhua and Fuzhou dioceses, not recognised by the government, were taken away. 

Details are not known.

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