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China detains two underground priests

ICC Note:

Two Catholics priests attempting to take part in the annual pilgrimage on May 24 to the Our Lady of Sheshan shrine near Shanghai, disappeared while they were in the hands of Chinese authorities. They have been detained for over a month without any news of their well being.

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7/14/08 China (ChristianToday) Two Catholic priests in China’s “underground” church have been detained for over a month after trying to join a pilgrimage, an overseas group said, as the government seeks to quell protest threats before the Olympics.

Zhang Jianlin and Zhang Li, priests from near Zhangjiakou city in Hebei province, next to Beijing, sought to join thousands of other Catholics on the annual pilgrimage on May 24 to the Our Lady of Sheshan shrine near Shanghai, the Connecticut-based Cardinal Kung Foundation said in an email on Monday.

“Both priests disappeared while they were in the hands of Chinese authorities,” said the Foundation, which is highly critical of Chinese state restrictions on religion. “There has been no news on these two priests since their arrests.”

Hebei, where the two missing priests come from, is an epicentre of the underground church. The two men were going to Sheshan, where the popular pilgrimage was this year restricted by strict police checks.

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