Chinese Priests and Nuns Beaten in Tianjin

2nd Similar Attack in Recent Weeks

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TIANJIN, China, DEC. 19, 2005 ( A group of priests and nuns were beaten with iron bars, bricks and clubs by a group of assailants in this seaside city, after protesting the expropriation of Church property.

The priests and nuns were attacked Friday after having demonstrated against the seizure of several buildings belonging to their Archdiocese of Taiyuan, in Shanxi province, according to AsiaNews.

The attack followed a similar incident in Xian several weeks ago, when 16 nuns were beaten for having stood in the way of the demolition of a diocesan school.

In the Tianjin incident, one priest was knocked unconscious, and a nun suffered head injuries and was hospitalized. Four other priests were also injured.

When police arrived, they took the priests in for questioning. Only hours later did they take the injured clerics to the hospital.

The group of 48 priests and two nuns had arrived in Tianjin last Thursday from Taiyuan to ask for the return of several buildings which belong to the diocese and which are located on the harbor front.

These Western-style buildings, confiscated during the Mao era, were, according to Chinese law, to have been returned to the diocese in 1979. Instead, the Religious Affairs Bureau has used them as their headquarters. Recently, the bureau decided to hand them over to a construction company to restore and commercialize them. The diocese has been seeking their return since 1993, but never received any response from the government.

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