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Press Release - July 5, 1999

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, Beatings, and Death of Religious Personnel

In the Underground Roman Catholic Church in Hebei, China

Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. - The Cardinal Kung Foundation, an advocate of the underground Roman Catholic Church in China, reports that during the month of May, there were a series of arrests, beatings and death of priest, seminarian, and laymen of the underground Roman Catholic Church in China.

1) In mid-May, WANG Qing, an underground Roman Catholic seminarian in Baoding, originally from Qinghai Province, was arrested in a Catholic family in Baoding, Hebei. He was tortured, hung for three days by his hands with his toes barely touching the ground. He was severely beaten. He suffered extensive injury. In addition, he was force-fed with filthy fluid causing serious gastric-intestinal illness and severe diarrhea. Three days later, he was let go without any medical care.

2) As there are not enough priests in the underground Roman Catholic Diocese of Beijing, priests from neighboring dioceses often come to Beijing to offer secret Masses in private homes for the underground Catholic community.

Father YAN Weiping, an underground Roman Catholic priest and an administrator of the Diocese of Yixian, Hebei, was one of such priests who "helped out" in Beijing on May 13, 1999. He was arrested by the government's security force while he was offering a Holy Mass. Shortly afterwards at about eight o'clock in the same evening, he was found dead on a street in Beijing. He was 33.

As there was no autopsy performed, the circumstance of Father Yan's death could not be determined. Many underground Catholics have reached a consensus that Father Yan was pushed out of a window after he was killed.. He was buried in his birthplace in Qujiazhuang, Xuanhua, Hebei.

Father Yan came from a family of many Catholic priests and nuns. He was secretly ordained a priest on November 20, 1988. Previously, Father Yan was arrested on December 13, 1990 and jailed for 6 months, because of his religious activities.

3) On May 23 this year, Pentecost Sunday, the Government in Boading, Hebei tried to arrest an underground priest offering a Holy Mass in a private home. Sensing the Government agents were closing in, four underground Catholic men helped the priest to escape. The Government agents arrested these four men, and sent them to the labor camp for "re-education". They are ZHOU Quanxin, ZHOU Zhenpeng, ZHOU Zhenmin, and ZHOU Zhenquan.

4) In June 1999, Father SHI Yukui, an underground Catholic priest in Baoding, died from natural cause. The Chinese government forbade the family to carry out any religious ceremonies for his funeral. The family was given two choices. The body could either be cremated, or be buried without any religious ceremony. Father SHI was ultimately forced to be buried quickly without any religious ceremony.