Chinese authorities have stepped up persecution of underground Catholics with the detention of a bishop and a priest as well as the demolition of an altar that left two laywomen injured, reports Ucanews.
The detentions and demolition were all separate incidents that occured this month.
Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding was taken away by officials in Hebei province on May 12 and then sent back to his Cathedral to celebrate Mass on Pentecost Sunday on May 24, according to his priests.
It remained unclear why the Bishop had been detained for 12 days.
“He ordained a few priests in April and was then warned not to go on a pilgrimage during the Month of Mary in May,” said a source in Zhengding who declined to be named for security reasons.
Authorities have recently ordered all religious personnel — without specifying which faiths — to report their whereabouts, the source added.
Authorities also appear to have detained Father Liu Honggeng in nearby Baoding who has not been seen or heard from since talking to relatives on his mobile phone on May 7.
“His mobile is off. We Catholics have inquired from relevant government departments but in vain,” said another Church source who also declined to be named for security reasons.
The Justice and Peace Commission of Hong Kong diocese has similarly demanded authorities explain Father Liu’s whereabouts but also without reply.
Photo: A police task force arrives to demolish an altar at an underground prayer house in Anzhuang, Hebei province, last Friday
FULL STORY Catholic leaders detained in China