China: "The world cannot continue ignoring the persecution of 12 million Catholics"

An outcry is underway in favor of bishops, priests and Catholic worshipers that are currently being held as prisoners and tortured in communist China, "live martyrs of the third millenium"

BUENOS AIRES, August 12, 2001 (NFC / News From China) - "The world cannot continue ignoring the cruel persecution of 12 million Catholics in communist China, which has been increased in the past months with new kidnappings of bishops, priests and worshipers. The time has come to voice our support in favor of these persecuted brothers, live martyrs of the third millenium", affirmed the directors of the magazines and Panorama Catolico Internacional, Andres Silva and Marcelo Gonzalez ( ). Both of the Catholic directors, quoting recent reports of the Vatican agency Fides and of Cardinal Kung Foundation, mention as examples of the particularly painful religious persecution in China, the detention at the beginning of April, of the elderly Bishop of Peking, Monsignor Mathias Pei, 82 year old, and of Bishop of Hebei, Monsignor Shi Enxiang, 79 years old, whom has spent 30 years of his life in communist jails. In addition to these victims are many young priests and lay men and women like Father Li Jiambo, 34 years old, and Father Lu Genjun, 39 years old. Fides points out that at least 10 bishops from the Church of Silence are imprisoned, remain kidnapped in unknown locations or are under house arrest. "A mobilization of 1.000 million Catholic worshipers in the entire world, firmly demanding of the Chinese embassies in the respective countries; of all means of communication; of governments; and of human rights organizations are capable of creating an international climate that will make it difficult for the persecution in China to continue, that being for religious motives, as in the case of the Catholics, or ideological", added the director of

The magazine Panorama Catolico Internacional, edited in Buenos Aires, in its latest edition, raises the subject of the Chinese Catholics.

Sources that were consulted by the vatican agency Fides affirm that the recent release of the Bishop of Henan, Monsignor Giuseppe Zhang, 45 years old, was due to "his grave health condition" in which he is in. Therefore, there is no evidence of a change in the methods of the Chinese communists, denounced by Fides in the same news report: that "the government has launched a campaign to eliminate the underground Church" which is loyal to Rome.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Cardinal Bernard Law, Director of the International Affairs Committee of the Catholics Bishop Conference, in a stern letter to the Chinese Ambassador in Washington classified the wave of persecution against Catholics and dissidents in China as an "unacceptable situation".

Other recent reports indicate the resurgence of religious persecution in Cuba and Vietnam, both having communist governments.

(NFC / News From China)