HONG KONG (CWN) - A US businessman working in China said on Tuesday that scores of Catholic priests and bishops have been detained by the Communist Chinese government in the last four years because of their continuing allegiance to the universal Catholic Church.

      China recognizes only the state-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association which eschews any connections to Catholics outside the country and does not object to morally corrupt government practices such as abortion. John Kamm said on Hong Kong radio that he has established a dialogue with the Chinese government regarding prisoners of conscience and added that officials told him that they are receiving increasing pressure to crack down on unauthorized religious groups. "At the end of 1993, there were no priests or bishops in prison in China to the best of our knowledge," he said. "That is manifestly not the case now. There are at least several dozen priests and bishops under some form of detention."

      Three American religious leaders appointed by President Clinton will travel to China later this week to talk with Chinese officials about religious freedom. Rabbi Arthur Schneier, president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation; Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of the Roman Catholic diocese of Newark, New Jersey; and Dr. Don Argue, president of the National Association of Evangelicals will head a delegation leaving for China on February 8 for a three-week visit to Beijing and other Chinese cities as well as Lhasa, Tibet.

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February 4, 1998 volume 9, no. 25          DAILY CATHOLIC

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