China Silences Persecuted Priest Ahead of Vatican Deal Renewal
08/12/2020 China (International Christian Concern) – A Chinese priest in China’s Fujian province, who was previously tortured by the government to force him to join the official church, has been summoned and threatened, after his torture was revealed by the watchdog media Bitter Winter.
Father Huang Jintong’s persecution was reported by Bitter Winter last April. After being exposed, the local authorities visited Father Huang to investigate how the details of his torture had been leaked, claiming that the report “undermined the unity of the Chinese Catholic Church” and was a result from the “infiltration by foreign forces.”
The Chinese authorities are especially sensitive and cautious about his case, since Beijing and the Vatican are scheduled to renew a provisional deal on the appointment of bishops next month.
According to Bitter Winter, a government informant revealed that since Father Huang’s torture has drawn attention abroad, China’s Ministry of Public Security is determined to find the leakers at any cost. They also demanded Father Huang sign a statement denying the fact that the government had subjected him to a torture method known as “exhausting an eagle,” not allowing him to sleep for four days, to make him join the CPCA.
“As the Vatican-China deal of 2018 expires soon, the CCP fears that the Pope will ask it to explain the incident with Father Huang when negotiating its renewal,” commented a Catholic priest who requested anonymity.
At the moment Father Huang continues to be monitored closely, and anyone who is in contact with him might be targeted as well. Cellphones of clergy members and churchgoers who know about the torture are also surveilled to prevent information from being leaked.
Despite the risks of being exposed, many Catholics still want to get the words out. “Facts about persecutions should be made known overseas,” an unregistered clergy member told Bitter Winter. “It’s necessary to have more supervision from the [international] community. Since Father Huang’s torture was reported, the government stopped using this method to force other priests to join the CPCA, at least for now.”
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