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02/23/2012 China (UCA News) – Sources in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region said yesterday that parishioners in Suiyuan diocese cannot lead a normal religious life as priests have been arrested or are in hiding following the arrest last week of the diocesan administrator.
The underground Church has been forced to become even more secretive to avoid being targeted by authorities, the sources said.
“We are in a more difficult situation today because the pope’s letter in 2007 has revoked special rights given to the China Church. We have lost the canonical basis for our continued survival,” said one source who asked not to be identified.
Conditions in the diocese have degraded further in the wake of the arrest of six priests on January 30.
Four of the detained priests – Fr Chu Jianli, Fr Ding Zhanmin, Fr Wang Hu and Fr Zhao Runxi – were reportedly forced to concelebrate a Mass with Bishop Paul Meng Qinglu of Hohhot’s “open” community along with two other open priests on February 13.
Some 20 government officials watched them throughout the Mass, which took place in Baotou city, and took the priests away afterward, sources said.
They added that the priests are compelled to undergo re-education, or brainwashing.

On February 14, government officials came to seal up the diocesan seminary and disband all seminarians. Rector Fr Ban Zhanxiong, who was arrested on January 30, is still in detention.
Fr Gao Jiangping, the underground administrator who leads about 30 priests, was arrested together with Fr Zhao Fu in Hohhot the following day. Their whereabouts remain unknown.
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