Priest Who Published Hymns Is Freed From Chinese Prison

WENZHOU, China, JAN. 9, 2004 ( A priest of the Diocese of Wenzhou, in prison for publishing religious hymns without proper authorization, was released on Christmas, two years before completing his sentence.

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Father Paul Jiang Sunian, 35, was freed for “good behavior,” the Catholic agency UCA News confirmed.

Arrested on Nov. 25, 1999, but detained officially since Dec. 23 of that year, Father Jiang was considered guilty of illegally publishing 120,000 religious hymns booklets.

In April 2000, he was sentenced to six years in prison, and required to pay a sum equivalent to some $33,000.

UCA News said that the underground Church in Wenzhou, in the Zhejiang province, cannot carry out its work.

Bishop James Lin Xili of Wenzhou has been deprived of freedom of movement and confined to the cathedral of the government-approved “patriotic” Church, which does not officially acknowledge papal authority.

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