News Blackout Follows Beating of Nuns in China

Traces of Xian Incident Disappearing

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XIAN, China, DEC. 5, 2005 ( The Holy See’s missionary news agency Fides expressed alarm over the beatings of nuns in Xian, China, and the subsequent news blackout.

On Nov. 23, when they tried to stop the demolition of a diocesan school, which the government had illegally sold to a construction company, the nuns of the Congregation of Franciscan Missionaries of the Sacred Heart were insulted and beaten by some 40 men, reported AsiaNews.

As early as last Thursday, the agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions stated that no Chinese newspaper reported the news «of the 16 nuns kicked in Xian.»

The Holy See protested the attack in a communiqué by spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls.

On Friday, the Fides agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples warned that, «after being the first to publish detailed news on the ‘violence used in Xian against defenseless nuns,’ Faith, the best-known Chinese Catholic site ( of the Catholic community of Hebei, was blacked out during several hours on Nov. 30.»

«Other Chinese Catholic sites that published news of the incident suffered the same fate,» Fides added. «Since yesterday, these sites are again visible, but, incredibly, all traces of the Xian incidents have disappeared.»

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