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03/23/2012 China (UCA News) – Coadjutor Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou and his chancellor Father Paul Jiang Sunian were spirited away this week to attend “learning classes,” sources say.

Bishop Shao, 49, was appointed by the Holy See in to lead Wenzhou’s “underground” community in 2007 and is not recognized by the government.

He and Fr Jiang were taken on Monday.

If Bishop Shao and Father Jiang are “intelligent enough in their learning,” they will be allowed back soon; if not, they will be detained longer, local Church sources quoted government officials as saying.

“This implies their release depends on whether they accept the government’s religious policies,” one of the sources said.

Among 17 underground priests, a few of them have been summoned to meet with religious officials in the past two days, the sources said.

Some were told to remain behind while others were allowed to return home the same day, they added.

Though no official reasons have been given, the sources suspect the recent events may be linked to the secret episcopal ordination in Tianshui diocese in Gansu province last year.

Government officials are investigating who was involved in the ordination, they said.

Bishop John Wang Ruowang of Tianshui was taken away for “learning classes” at an undisclosed location in January.

A Church observer who asked not to be named said China’s religious policy is “moving backwards” and is reflected in the current situation with the Catholic Church and with the 30 Tibetan monks and nuns who have self-immolated in the fight for religious freedom.

The spate of detentions of underground clergy since the fall of last year was a decision coming from the government, he noted.

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