Sunday, April 03, 2005

China : Vatican denounces the arrest of 18 Bishops including 86 years old James Lin Xili.

China: the Vatican denounces the arrest of bishop,
priest and layperson. Meanwhile in China, news on the
Pope's condition disappear from Internet.

quotes :

The Director of the Vatican Press Office, Joaquin
Navarro Valls, denounced today the arrest of several
Catholics in China. The Bishop of Wenzhou, Msgr James
Lin Xili, age 86, was arrested last March 20 on Palm
Sunday. He was taken away by security forces, but the
reason for his arrest is unknown. A priest, Fr Thomas
Zhao Kexiun, of the Diocese of Xuanhua in Hebei, was
arrested last March 30 while returning home from a
funeral. The reason for the arrest in his case as well
is unknown, as is his place of detention.

The Vatican points out that the Bishop of Xuanhua
Diocese, Msgr Phillip Peter Zhao Zhendong, was also
arrested January 3rd of this year and is being held in
the city of Jiangjiakou. Then, on March 22 in the
Diocese of Wenzhou, police arrested Gao Xinyou, a
collaborator in the pastoral for the laity in the
Longgang area.

The news of Fr. Zhao Kexiun's arrest had already been
reported by AsiaNews; Bishop Lin Xili is among those
named on the list published by AsiaNews of 18 bishops
and 19 priests in prison or in isolation in China. He
is one of the bishops of the underground Church who are
periodically arrested and subjected to brainwashing
sessions to force them to register with the the
Patriotic Association, the entity through which the
Chinese Communist Party controls Catholics: among its
aims is to create a Church independent from the pope.

The Vatican statement comes just as various media are
speculating on the attention being given by China to the
dying Pope. Yesterday, the spokesperson for the Chinese
Foreign Ministry, Liu Jianchao, said in a press
conference that he wished the Pope a "speedy recovery".
Yesterday, the Xinhua agency and the People's Daily also
gave ample summaries on the health of Pope Jean Paul II.
Internet sites and chat groups were full of news and
forums on the figure of the Pope. But, AsiaNews sources
in Beijing say that today news on the Pope disappeared
from all Internet sites; neither a picture nor a line
was to be found on television or in newspapers.

For some observers, such Internet censorship stems from
a specific government concern: overly free discussion on
the figure of John Paul II, known by all as a champion
of human rights and human dignity, risks generating
strong criticisms against the Chinese government, which
has always been hostile to him as the Pope who "brought
down Communism."

Another serious concern faced by the government of
Beijing is that, in case of the Pope's funeral,
Taiwanese President Chen Shuibian could participate in
the ceremony as head of state (the Vatican has
diplomatic relations with Taiwan), while People's China
would not be represented. Beijing broke relations with
the Holy See in 1951, expelling the then nuncio, Msgr
Antonio Riberi. China has always set two conditions for
the re-establishment of relations: namely, that the
Vatican not interfere in religious matters in China (by
not being involved in the naming of bishops) and that it
break ties with Taiwan.

end of quotes

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