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Press Release - November 30, 1994

Contact: Joseph Kung
PO Box 8086, Stamford, CT 06905, U.S.A
Tel: 203-329-9712 Fax: 203-329-8415 E-Mail: jmkung@aol.com

Arrests, harassment, and beatings of Roman Catholics in Jiangxi

Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. - Each year, several thousand faithful loyal to the Pope would congregate on top of a desolate mountain in Yu Jiang. They would come from all over the Province of Jiangxi to celebrate the great Feastday of Assumption on August 15.

This year, there was a preemptive action by the Chinese Government to prevent the Catholic faithful to celebrate the Feastday of Assumption. There were dozens of arrests, harassment and beatings to Roman Catholic bishop, priests, and laypersons. Many scores of people were injured.

In the course of this suppression:

a) Rev. Liao Hai Qing was arrested on August 11, 1994 at about 11:30 pm. He was released only about ten days ago.

b) Bishop Zeng Jing-Mu, Bishop of Yu Jiang, 75 years old, feeble, was detained on August 14 for three days and later again was arrested on Sept 17, 1994. He is now at the detention center of Chong Ren.

This was the fourth time that Bishop Zeng was incarcerated. We do not know the official charges, if any, against the Bishop, but believe that it was another case of administrative detention without going through the proper legal system. This action enables the governemnt to prevent the bishop from performing his apostolic duties without acknowledging him to be officially a prisoner (of conscience).

c) On August 13 & 14, about a dozen Catholic leaders in Yu Jiang and in its neighboring towns were arrested by security personnel.

Many houses suspected to house Catholics from out of town were searched by the Chinese authority. As a result, many faithful attempted to escape by jumping out of the windows on the upper floors. Many sustained injuries. Others hid in the bushes all night.

d) On August 14, roads leading to the mountain site of celebration were blocked, and public transportation including ferries to and from this site was forbidden for people suspected to be Roman Catholics heading for the said celebration.

Several thousand security personnel (many of them are hired hands) and soldiers lined the routes leading to the mountain site for celebration. They tried to prevent those who filtered through the blockade to reach the mountain.

Several thousand faithful, risking imprisonment, torture and fines, walked through chest-deep river and little known paths to reach the mountain, but was stopped by the government force who used batons (some electrically charged) to beat the faithful in order to stop them, injuring scores and arresting dozens.

Regardless of those atrocities, two thousand faithful broke through the police line and reached the top of the mountain. There, they prayed and sang hymns. There were no bishop and priests to pray and sing with them; because, they were all arrested.

Many Catholic families were searched. Holy pictures and bibles were destroyed. They were warned that if they kept practicingRoman Catholicism, they would be fined up to JMP (Chinese currency) $ 500, almost a month pay. If they harbored out of town catholics, they would be fined JMP $ 2,000. Moreover, they were told that if they wanted to practice the Catholic faith, they would have to join the Patriotic Association which is a schismatic Catholic church independent from the Pope's authority and is not recognized by the Pope.