Holy See Assails China's Arrest of 84-year-old Bishop

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See denounced the arrest of an 84-year-old bishop by police in China and expressed its «deep pain.»

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«Since May 27 there has been no news of the 84-year-old bishop of Xuanhua, who was taken into custody by police forces,» said Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls in a statement, without mentioning the prelate’s name.

«The coadjutor bishop of Xiwanzi was placed in custody from June 2-12, whereas the bishop of Zheng Ding was held by the authorities for five days,» the director of the Vatican press office added, again without mentioning names.

«The Holy See feels deep pain for these measures, for which no reason has been communicated,» Navarro Valls said. «They are inconceivable in a state of law and go against human rights, in particular religious freedom, which are sanctioned in numerous international documents, also endorsed by the People’s Republic of China.»

According to the Cardinal Kung Foundation, a U.S.-based group that promotes religious freedom in China, all the bishops of the «underground» Catholic Church are either in prison, under house arrest, under surveillance, or in hiding.

For months, the Holy See has been protesting news of the arrest of bishops in China.

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