CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 April 2017

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Bishops and priests currently being held in china

Bishop James Su Zhimin, from the unofficial community of Baoding, is nearly 80 years of age and was arrested by police on 8 October 1997. The charge that led to his arrest has never been revealed, news of a trial has never been released and the place of his detention is unknown.

Before his last arrest, Bishop Su spent at least 26 years on and off in prison or forced labour camps. He was branded as counter-revolutionary because he refused to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. He has already spent 40 years in detention.

Bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang, from the unofficial community of Yixian, is now 90-years-old. He was arrested on Good Friday, 13 April 2001, and nothing is known about him, although his family and local Catholics continue to ask police for at least some news of his wellbeing.

Bishop Shi suffered long periods of imprisonment between 1957 until 1980, and was forced into hard labour, first on a farm in Heilongjiang, then in coal mines in Shanxi. 

He was arrested again and imprisoned for three years in 1983, followed by three more years of house arrest. In 1989, he was arrested again and was only released in 1993, before being rearrested in 2001. He has already spent 51 years behind bars.

Father Joseph Lu Genjun is the vicar general of the unofficial diocese of Baoding. He disappeared in police custody 17 February 2006. Father Lu was arrested along with another priest and a friend, whom he had met at the railway station in Baoding. The other priest was released, but Father Lu’s whereabouts are unknown.

He was jailed for a short period in 1998 and in 2001 he was sentenced to three years of re-education through labour then released in 2003.

Father Zhang Jianlin, from the unofficial diocese of Xuanhua, was taken away by staff of the Religious Affairs Bureau on 22 June 2011. Up until now, no-one knows where he is being held.

Father Cui Tai, from the same diocese in Hebei, disappeared into police custody on 22 June 2011. His whereabouts are unknown.

Father Liu Honggen, from the unofficial diocese of Baoding, was arrested with eight other priests on 27 December 2006. He is currently detained in the prison of Qingyuan.

Father Ma Wuyong, from the unofficial diocese of Baoding, was arrested with eight other priests in August 2004. Before the Chinese New Year in 2006, he was released temporarily, but rearrested a month later.

Father Wang Chengli, from the unofficial diocese of Heze, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years re-education through labour on 25 August 2011. He is being held in Jining.

• Bishop Wu Qinjing, from the unofficial diocese of Zhouzhi, has been under house arrest in the seminary in Xi’an since November 2007. He has been forced to memorise the Regulations on Religious Affairs, forbidden to wear his episcopal insignia or carry out any activities as a bishop. (AsiaNews)

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