Chinese Catholics Call for Release of illegally Detained Bishop

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    As News said, officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have arrested Bishop Xinxiang on the 21st of May, 2021 together with 10 priests and 10 seminarians in an attempt to apply additional pressure on the underground Catholic Church.

    The police initially transported the priests and bishops to a hotel, where they were confined to isolated confinement and subjected to “political sessions” to indoctrinate them into the CCP's concept of the right to religious freedom, as per an article by AsiaNews, the official press organization for the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

    They were let out after three days, and the priests were released several days later. However, Bishop Zhang remains in the custody of police officers, being kept without charge or trial in a location that is not known. Chinese law says that no person can be kept in solitary confinement, without charge, for longer than three months.

    Two members of the family were permitted to visit the Bishop for just a short time in the course of Lunar New Year celebrations, but nobody knows the place he's being held and priests are not allowed to call or visit the bishop.

    AsiaNews said that the Catholic community of Xinxiang is still hoping for the release of their bishop, but they are also becoming concerned about his mental and physical health.

    The Vatican has not made an appeal to Bishop Zhang's release.

    Hong Kong police arrested Cardinal Joseph Zen — Asia's top Catholic prelate — on May 11 the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin expressed his “closeness” to Cardinal Zen; however, he quickly stressed that the arrest shouldn't be interpreted in the sense of “a disavowal” of the proviso arrangement between the Holy See and the CCP regarding the appointment of bishops.

    “The most concrete hope is that initiatives such as this one will not complicate the already complex and not simple path of dialogue,” Cardinal Parolin stated.

    As of now, Cardinal Zen is released on bail, however, his travel documents have been taken.

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