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ICC Note: Maria Fan Junying, a Catholic woman in Tianjin, died of cerebral hemorrhage on July 30, four days after more than 20 men armed with power tools attempted to open the gate of a disputed church property in the middle of the night. The disputed property was supposed to be returned to the church 3 years ago after it was confiscated by the Party, but instead was sold to land developer.  

08/22/2017 China (UCA News) – Chinese Catholics in the northern coastal city of Tianjin fear nothing will come from official investigations into the death of a laywomen injured while protecting disputed church property from men believed to working for a corrupt land developer.

Local Catholics told they believe local authorities will not deal fairly over circumstances that lead to the death of Maria Fan Junying because the land developer has political connections.

The disputed property — next to St. Joseph’s Cathedral, commonly known as Xikai Church — was originally a hospital founded by the nuns of the Congregation of Charity. It was confiscated by the communists in 1949, was meant to be returned to the church three years ago according to law but was instead sold to a developer.

“Heping district is in the central downtown area where there is currently not much space available for development. The developer must have strong political backing to be able to obtain a piece of land there,” said a layman who asked not to be named.

“So, the government officials of course would defend the land developer. The hope for Xikai Church to win the case with regards to Fan’s death is dim,” he added.

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