U.S. Lawmakers Slam Arrest of Chinese Bishop

WASHINGTON, D.C., APR. 27, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A number of U.S. lawmakers denounced the reported recent arrest of a Chinese Catholic bishop, writing to President Jiang Zemin urging China to release the prelate and respect “freedom of worship,” Agence France-Presse reported.

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The letter, signed by more than 100 members of Congress, assails the Good Friday arrest of Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang, reported by the U.S.-based Cardinal Kung Foundation.

The lawmakers urged China to “recognize that freedom of worship and the freedom of speech are basic human rights to be protected, not silenced.”

About a dozen bishops are now held by the Communist leaders in Beijing, which broke off relations with the Vatican in 1958.

The Cardinal Kung Foundation said in a statement Monday that the 79-year-old Shi was detained during a visit to the Chinese capital. A local police spokesman denied Shi´s arrest, but said he had been on their wanted list since 1996.

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