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Priests Forcibly Taken Away by the Chinese Government

04/17/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – The Chinese government has not stopped persecuting underground Catholic community in China even after the signing of a provisional agreement between the Vatican and Beijing last year.

Ahead of Easter, local governments in Hebei and Gansu province forcibly took away two unofficial priests from their respective dioceses. Father Paul Zhang Guangjun of Xuanhua Diocese in Hebei was beaten and kidnapped on April 14 by state security agents, while Father Hong Wanxi was forcibly returned to his home village by the United Front Department on the same day.

Sitting in a car, Father Zhang and his companion were dragged out and beaten by several thugs claiming their affiliation with the Public Security Bureau. They roughly took Father Zhang away after kicking his companion out of the car.

Father Zhang is the third underground cleric from the same diocese to be taken by authorities in less than a month. Previously, Coadjutor Bishop Augustine Cui Tai and vicar general Father Zhang Jianlin were also snatched up by the government.

Father Hong Wanxi, from Lanzhou Diocese in Gansu, was also forced to leave his church and moved back to his home town. At least 10 people, including policemen and staff of the United Front Department and the Religious Affairs Bureau, took him, put him in the car and dragged him away to send him back to his hometown in Shandan County, which is more than 270 miles away.

Both priests have repeatedly refused to join the Patriotic Association, the state-controlled Catholic church, in spite of ongoing threats and harassment from the government. Whether or not they will be released after Easter is still unknown.

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