Four Priests Arrested in China

Four Priests Arrested in China

XIWANZI, China, JULY 29, 2007 ( Four priests have been arrested and detained for refusing to join the Patriotic Association, the government body that oversees religious practice in the country.

Three of the priests were arrested July 24, at the home of Catholic faithful in the Ximeng region of Inner Mongolia, the Cardinal Kung Foundation reported.

Father Liang Aijun, 35, Father Wang Zhong, 41, and Father Gao Jinbao, 34, were hiding in order to avoid arrest, but were finally caught by eight plainclothes men.

During the initial phase of the arrest, the priests were locked up in a cage, prohibited from talking to anyone and refused water. They have now been transferred to an undisclosed location.

The fourth priest, Father Cui Tai, 50, of Shuangshu Village, Zhuolu County, was detained after a minor motorcycle accident in early July. He has been detained at the public security and religious bureau since the accident.

Father Cui, of the Diocese of Xuanhua, Hebei, has also refused to register with the Patriotic Association.

According to the Cardinal Kung Foundation, at least five bishops are in jail and others are under house arrest and surveillance. About 15 priests and an unknown number of laypeople are also jailed.

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