Eight Catholic priests and two seminarians were arrested in China Aug. 6. Police stopped the 10 men, who were gathered for a retreat. The arrest, which is the latest in a wave of anti-Church activity by the Chinese government, took place in the village of Sujiazhuang, about 200-km south-west of Peking, in the Diocese of Baoding, reported AsiaNews.
Those arrested include Fr. Huo Junlong, administrator for the Diocese of Baoding; Zhang Zhenqian of Baoding and Huang of Sujiazhuang. The names of the others are not known. The men are now being held in the police custody in Baoding.
According to the Kung Foundation, 20 police trucks and numerous public security guards had surrounded the village and had conducted a house-by-house search, looking to arrest priests and seminarians.
The province of Hebei, in which Peking is located, is the area with the highest concentration of Catholics in the country. They number 1.5 million.
The Diocese of Baoding has been the centre of a strong unofficial community for awhile. Its bishops Giacomo Su Zhimin, 72, and Francesco An Shuxin, 54, have been imprisoned for the last seven years. They have yet to be given the possibility to communicate with the outside world. Some believe the two bishops are dead. Their predecessor, Bishop Giuseppe Fan Xueyan, was tortured and killed in prison.
Three Chinese bishops have been arrested and interrogated in the last three months.
China’s director of religious affairs, Ye Xiaowen, continues to deny that there is religious persecution in his country.