.- Chinese authorities released a 75-year-old Catholic priest June 1, after he was detained for two months, the Cardinal Kung Foundation reported yesterday. Fr. Zhao Kexun belongs to China's unofficial Catholic church. Government security agents arrested Fr. Kexun March 30 as he returned from celebrating mass at a private home. The priest served as an administrator of the diocese in Xuanhua in the northern province of Hebei.
The Cardinal Kung Foundation has said 33 members of seven dioceses in Hebei have been arrested and imprisoned. Priests have been detained in other in other provinces as well.
The foundation hopes the priestâs release marks the beginning of more releases of Catholic bishops, priests and faithful.
The detentions are also reminders of the ongoing tension between China and the Vatican. While both have publicly declared a desire to restore diplomatic relations, China has stated that it wants the Vatican to sever ties with Taiwan.