DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     May 12, 1998     vol. 9, no. 92

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          BEIJING (CWNews.com) - China's Communist government released a frail and elderly Catholic bishop from a labor camp on Saturday, but remains under house arrest, according to the US-based Cardinal Kung Foundation.

          Bishop Zeng Jingmu, 78, was released less than a month before the visit of US President Bill Clinton to China as he seeks to show US voters that China is worthy of favored trade status. Bishop Zeng is a member of the underground Catholic Church in China which adheres to all Catholic doctrine and acknowledges the primacy of the pope. The Communist government has only legalized worship in its state-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association for which it appoints its own bishops, and persecutes those who remain loyal to the universal Catholic Church.

          The bishop is in very poor health and is being kept under house arrest in southern Jiangxi province, the Cardinal Kung Foundation said. He is only allowed to see close family members. "To transfer Bishop Zeng from a labor detention center to house arrest can hardly be called a true release," the group said. He was sentenced in 1996 to three years in a labor camp for holding unauthorized religious services. They also reported that Father Lu Genyou of Baoding was arrested on Palm Sunday, April 5, and was released recently.

          In regards religious persecution, the Republican Party used its weekly radio address on Saturday to condemn religious persecution around the world and to stump for legislation proposed in Congress which would required monitoring of and sanctions against countries that persecute religious groups.

          Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Virginia, one of the measure's sponsors, called on Americans to help prisoners of faith and highlighted persecution in Sudan, Tibet, and China. "Many around the world are enduring these hardships simply because they practice their faith. They endure mostly in silence and away from the public spotlight and with little hope for a brighter tomorrow," Wolf said.

          Using Sudan as an example, he said more than a million people had been killed or allowed to starve in a war between the militant Islamic north and the mainly Christian and animist south. "Starvation is that government's weapon of choice liberally spiced with high-altitude bombing, mass murder, and even selling Sudanese boys and girls as slaves," Wolf said. The Freedom from Religious Persecution Act would create a White House office for reporting religious persecution worldwide, impose sanctions on foreign governments that carry out religious persecution, and improve asylum procedures. The Clinton administration has opposed the legislation, saying it would force them to ignore persecution in order to avoid implementing sanctions.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

May 12, 1998       volume 9, no. 92


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