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AsiaNews (12/19/05) – AsiaNews has received their message written yesterday, December 18, which is posted here below in full:

“On December 16, 2005, at approximately 2:15 p.m., in front of the building owned by the Church on Jinbu (‘progress’) Street in the Hebei neighbourhood, some strangers asked to be admitted. Fr Chang Jiping went down to see what they wanted. One of them said he was part of the construction company that wants to restructure the building. Arrogantly, this man asked Fr Chang to sign a document. The priest, not knowing who the person was, courteously refused to sign.

At that moment, a priest and two deacons arrived: they had bought a heater and some tubing to use for ventilation (Editor’s note: while waiting for a reply from the government, the priests had taken refuge in the empty expropriated building). The other priests came down to help them. All of a sudden, several individuals jumped at the priest and the deacons to block them, knocking over the heater and the tubing. The priest, Fr Lu Yi Zhang tried to get back on his feet and one of the thugs took him by the neck, strangling him.

Hearing noise and commotion, the priests who were upstairs preparing supper, came down to calm matters down. A middle-aged man, with glasses, shouted toward the other side of the street calling for reinforcements. More than 30 bullies arrived with iron bars, clubs and bricks, and attacked and beat all the priests, who were unarmed and defenceless. Some of them suffered serious injuries: Fr Chang Xiaowu’s right leg is injured; Fr Chang Jiping and Fr Han Hui suffered fractures to their hands; Fr Zhang Zhaoyu’s face was wounded; Fr Lian Xianbao and Deacon Liu Zhiying suffered head injuries.

A Catholic lady, Mrs Song Zhiying, was seriously injured and is still in hospital.

Given the situation, the other priests called the police. If it had not been for their arrival, things would have got worse.

We asked that the injured be brought to hospital and the police agreed. More than an hour later, Fr Chang Xiaowu called us to say that the police had taken them to police headquarters to question them individually. The thugs, instead, had disappeared without leaving a trace.

Pressured by our insistence, the police took the injured to hospital.

This incident has left us dumbfounded! We can only hope that competent authorities get the thugs and deliver them to justice.

The Catholic community of the Taiyuan Diocese, Jin Xhong (Yu Ci)

Shanxi Province ”