NEWS for Tuesday, May 30, 2000
PRIEST ARRESTED IN CHINA FOR PRINTING BIBLES
Communist Party's Campaign of Repression Continues
ROME, MAY 17 (ZENIT.org-FIDES).
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.
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