6 Chinese Priests Arrested; 2 Reportedly Beaten

STAMFORD, Connecticut, NOV. 29, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Six Catholic priests of the Zhengding Diocese in Hebei province were arrested Nov. 18 and two of them were beaten, says a U.S.-based watchdog group.

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The Cardinal Kung Foundation reported Monday that Fathers Wang Jin Shan and Gao Lingshen, both 50, were severely beaten after being arrested. Father Lingshen bled profusely from his mouth, the group said.

Four other priests — Guo Zhijun, 36; Zhang Xiuchi, 60; Peng Jianjun, 30; and Zhang Yinhu, 45 — were first ordered to be under house arrest on the same day, but were later officially detained in the Gaocheng security bureau, the Kung Foundations said. No other details were available.

For his part, Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo, 71, who was arrested Nov. 8, is still being kept in police custody somewhere.

All those arrested belong to the «underground» Church which pledges direct loyalty to the Pope. In China, the government allows religious practice only with recognized personnel and in places registered with the Religious Affairs Office, under the control of the Patriotic Association.

On Nov. 21, two «underground» priests, Father Li Suchuan, 40, and Father Yang Eermeng, 35, both of the Zhengding Diocese, were released by authorities. They were arrested Nov. 7.

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