CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Still seeking answers to priest’s death

Hong Kong (UCAN): At a May 7 prayer service at St. Vincent’s chapel, Wong Tai Sin, people prayed for answers to the mysterious death last November of Father Pedro Yu Heping of the unofficial Church community in China.

Also known as Wei Heping, Father Yu was found dead on November 8 in the Fen River, a tributary of the Yellow River that flows through Shanxi province.

His family has disputed the official cause of death, which was ruled a suicide (Sunday Examiner, February 7). Officials in have refused to release the body until his family signs documents accepting the ruling.

Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, former bishop of Hong Kong, told the around 70 people gathered for the prayer service, sponsored by the Justice and Peace Commission, that Father Yu’s family continues to suffer. “Half a year has gone already. They could not hold a proper ceremony to pay tribute to the priest,” he said.

“The authorities claim Father Yu committed suicide. If his family does not sign the official documents agreeing to the conclusion, they cannot get back his body,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Zen questioned why police would not open an investigation as ever-present surveillance cameras may have captured Father Yu’s final moments.

Or Yan-yan, project officer of the Justice and Peace Commission, said, “Authorities refuse to reveal the truth because they are hiding something.” 

She said, “Father Yu’s abnormal death has many unanswered questions. We pray for him with the intention of finding truth and justice.” 

Tianzhujiao Zaixian, a popular Catholic Internet portal co-founded by Father Yu, also called for special on May 11, six months to the day when police informed his family of his death.

“Father Yu’s family suffered pressures and gossip as they insist to probe the priest’s death,” a notice posted May 5 on the website read, “but they determined firmly: no truth, no burial.”

The commission distributed a booklet with articles written by Father Yu and included tributes from his family, priests, religious sisters and laypeople who knew him.

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