May 30, 2000
volume 11, no. 100

NEWS for Tuesday, May 30, 2000
Communist Party's Campaign of Repression Continues

    Fr. Jiang Sunian, a priest of the underground Catholic Church in Zhejiang, southeastern China, was sentenced by a court of appeal to 6 years imprisonment for printing Bibles and other religious materials. The court confirmed the sentence handed down last April.

    The sentence passed by the Wenzhou Court on May 25 states that Fr. Jiang is guilty of illegally producing and distributing printed material. The sentence describes the priest as a tax evader, guilty of a common crime, and not a prisoner of religious liberty.

    Indeed, according to the Chinese government, there are no "religious" or "political" prisoners, only common delinquents. Fr. Jiang Sunian was arrested several months ago, together with 6 other priests, in the Cangnan region, where there is a representative underground Catholic community that has been persecuted for years.

    Beginning in September, 1999, the Wenzhou government launched a new campaign to compel underground Catholics to adhere to the Patriotic Catholic Association, a Church controlled by the Communist Party. Those who oppose the idea are subjected to all kinds of violence. Since last February, the police have destroyed 7 underground churches and arrested several priests and faithful.

    The bishop of the region, Lin Xili, 81, has been kidnapped several times and subjected to indoctrination, being pressured to register with the Patriotic Association. This year, over Holy Week and the Easter period, the Cangnan police have destroyed some buildings and dispersed hundreds of faithful by force, in order to impede the celebration of "illegal" Masses and the recitation of Rosaries. ZE00052804

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