Chinese Priest and Seminarians Arrested

STAMFORD, Connecticut, NOV. 18, 2005 ( Chinese authorities have arrested a priest and 10 seminarians from the underground Catholic Church, according to a watchdog group.

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Father Yang Jianwei and the seminarians were arrested Nov. 12 in Xushui City in Hebei province, according to a report Thursday by the U.S.-based Cardinal Kung Foundation.

Six seminarians who are from outside of the Baoding, Hebei, area were released later to their homes, the group said. Father Yang and the four other seminarians remained in police custody, it reported.

«We do not know why they were arrested,» said the Kung Foundation.

The arrests followed the arrests earlier this month of Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo, 70, and two other priests from the prelate’s underground Diocese of Zheng Ding.

U.S. President George Bush, who is due in China on Saturday as part of an eight-day trip to Asia, called on the country’s leadership this week to give the public more religious freedom and other liberties.

Recently, China has said it would like better relations with the Holy See, but it wants the Vatican to cut its diplomatic ties to Taiwan.

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