Friday, February 24, 2006

Lest we forget that there is still great Christian persecution in the world...

24-February-2006 -- Catholic World News Brief

MORE ARRESTS FOR CHINESE UNDERGROUND CHURCH

Beijing, Feb. 24 (CWNews.com) - The Chinese government has arrested two more Catholic priests of the "underground" Church.

The Connecticut-based Cardinal Kung Foundation reports that Father Lu Genjun and Father GUO Yanli of the Baoding diocese were taken into custody on February 17. No explanation was given for the arrests.

Father Lu had been arrested on three previous occasions since his ordination in 1990, and has served three years in a labor camp. After the arrest last week he was taken to an undisclosed location. For Father Guo, who was ordained in 1998, it was a first arrest. He is reportedly being held at the Xushui County detention center.

The arrests took place in the Hebei province, where government officials have been most aggressive in their campaign against the "underground" Church. Hebei, just outside Beijing, is home to China's largest Catholic community, and local authorities have put heavy pressure on leaders of the underground Church to acknowledge the authority of the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association.

Bishop Jia Zhiguo, the most prominent prelate of the underground Church in Hebei, was arrested in November 2005, and is still in custody; the faithful of Hebei do not know where he is being held. Bishop Jia has been arrested on 8 different occasions, and served 20 years in prison.

Joseph Kung, the president of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said that he had written to China's President Hu Jintao last September, urging him “to bring modern China into an era of true religious freedom.” The Chinese leader has not acknowledged the message.

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