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ICC Note:

The Chinese Government has taken Catholic clergy to a meeting in Beiging by means of force.  The meeting is reportedly meant to set up a church leadership structure the government can control.

12/07/2010 China (AsiaNews) – AsiaNews sources say that dozens of bishops of the official Church have been forcibly deported to the capital to ensure their participation at the Assembly of representatives of Chinese Catholics, which the pope considers incompatible with Catholic faith.

The Assembly opened today in Beijing on a low profileand is being shrouded in secrecy: it is impossible to contact anyone and not even Xinhua is reporting on the event. The meeting should lead to the election of the national president of the Patriotic Association and president of the council of Chinese bishops, two bodies that are unacceptable to the Catholic Church because they aim to build a separate Church, detached from the pope. “It’s just an election of a new round of leadership,” said Liu Bainian, vice president and chairman of the PA Assembly. In fact, the gathering is the “sovereign body” of the official Chinese church in which bishops are a minority among Catholics and government representatives. Ecclesial decisions are made on the basis of rigged elections. Ahead of today’s meeting, Liu Bainian had sent all participants clear indications of what to do and what to vote.

The most serious and obvious violence occurred in Hengshui (Hebei), where Mgr. Feng Xinmao was seized by about 100 police officers and government representatives, who fought for hours against the faithful and priests who were shielding their bishop in an attempt to ensure his freedom. One faithful was injured in the shoulder during the assault. In recent days, the bishop had been kept in isolation, away from his home. The faithful succeeded in snatching him from police control, to take him back to his residence. After a siege lasting hours, the bishop was again arrested and last night at 20:30, Mgr. Feng Xinmao was dragged to Beijing to attend the meeting. One of the faithful, weeping, as the bishop was escorted away, said: “Our poor bishop has no freedom.”

Another prelate, Msgr. Li Lianghui Cangzhou (Hebei) has disappeared to escape the meeting in Beijing. The police has threatened the diocese, that if the bishop does not surrender, he will be hunted throughout the country like “a dangerous criminal.”

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