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ICC NOTE: In a strange case a Chinese Catholic priest went missing on April 15 as he was waiting to take a driving test in a rural region of Hebei province. According to China Aid, Catholics in the region have faced persecution from the government for nearly a year after 500 officials demolished a location used for prayer meetings. The aftermath saw two individuals arrested and one injured for “illegally gathering”. The escalation of Christian persecution in China has become a national issue as president Xi Jinping has called for religions to adhere to party leadership and continues the blatant whitewashing of Christianity in its cross demolition campaign. 

5/5/2016 Baoding, China (China Aid) – A Catholic priest from China’s northern Hebei province disappeared on April 15 during a driving test.

Yang Jianwei, a priest from a rural, predominately Catholic village in the city of Baoding, lost contact with his family and friends at 12:00 p.m. on April 15, shortly after he entered an examination room to take a driving test.

His relatives repeatedly called him, but his cell phone had been turned off. Members of his church, who accompanied him to the driving test, searched the facility but could not find him. When they asked to view surveillance footage, the staff refused to produce it, claiming they would only do so if they received the consent of the local public security bureau.

That afternoon, Yang’s family arrived and called the police; however, the local police station said they lacked sufficient manpower to investigate the case and promised to review the security footage with the family members once they had enough men.

The government began persecuting Catholics in the village on May 22, 2015, when authorities dispatched 500 officials to destroy part of a venue used for prayer meetings. During the demolition, two church members were detained, and one woman suffered injuries. Officially, government personnel claimed that the church members “gathered illegally” when they met to perform mass.

China Aid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by Yang Jianwei and the congregation of his church, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.

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