China Reportedly Arrests Priests and Seminarians

SHIJIAZHUANG, China, OCT. 27, 2003 ( China has resumed the systematic arrest of Catholic priests and seminarians whose meetings are not sponsored by the government-sanctioned “patriotic” Church.

A dozen underground priests and seminarians were attending a religious retreat Oct. 20 in the Hebei province. The government of China raided the retreat and arrested the participants, who are now being kept in a detention house in Gaocheng County, the Connecticut-based Cardinal Kung Foundation reported.

Among the arrested are Father Li Wenfeng, 31, Father Liu Heng, 29, Father Dou Shengxia, 37, and seminarians Chen Rongfu, 21, Han Jianlu, 24, and Zhang Chongyou, 23, the Kung Foundation said. Names of others arrested are unknown.

The Kung Foundation also reported that a Catholic church in Hebei was demolished by the Chinese government last June 21, just two weeks after its construction was completed. This church was located in Liu Gou village and had about 150 parishioners, mostly new converts.

Joseph Kung, president of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: “The Pope has repeatedly expressed his deep respect and love for the Chinese people. It does not appear that the Chinese government respects the Pope with these consistent and harsh treatments of the Roman Catholic Church in China.”