China Releases 7 Priests From Detention

STAMFORD, Connecticut, MAY 3, 2005 ( Chinese authorities have released seven priests of the Diocese of Zhengding who were arrested April 27 while on a spiritual retreat with their bishop, says a U.S.-based watchdog group.

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Joseph Kung, president of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said that the priests in Hebei province were released from various security bureaus. No other details were given.

The priests belong to the «underground Church» which recognizes the Pope’s authority but is not officially approved by Beijing.

They were on retreat in a village near the city of Jinzhou with their «non-official» Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo.

The prelate, a bishop since 1980, has spent some 20 years in prison.

Bishop Jia has been warned previously by the Public Security and religious offices not to engage in any religious activity.

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