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Press Release - January 6, 2005

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


Underground Roman Catholic Bishop Arrested in China



Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. --- Bishop Jia Zhi Guo 賈治國主教, the underground Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Zheng Ding 正定 in Hebei Province was arrested by three officials of the Religious Bureau on January 5, 2005 at approximately 5:30 in the afternoon (Beijing time) in a church located in Wu Qiu 武邱 village. According to a report that we received, Bishop Jia could have been detained somewhere in Shijiazhung 石家莊. In fact, Bishop Jia was also arrested on December 14 together with 11 priests. They were all released shortly after few hours.

Bishop Jia is 69 years old and was ordained a bishop in 1980. He was previously in jail for approximately 20 years and has been under strict surveillance for many years. He takes care of approximately 100 handicapped orphans in his house. This is the fifth time that Bishop Jia was arrested since January 2004. The first arrest was April 5, 2004. A car with four government security policemen suddenly appeared at the bishop's residence and took him away without explanation. The second arrest was September 9, 2004 when Bishop Jia was forced by two security personnel to take a tour for three days to Wentang 文溏 Township in Pingsh 平山 County. Adding insult to injury, they forced the bishop to pay for the hotel and meal expenses, including for those government officials who watched over him. The third arrest was September 30, 2004 when Bishop Jia was forcibly taken away by security personnel of Shijiazhung district. The arrest on December 14 was Bishop Jia's fourth arrest in 2004.

Joseph Kung, 龔民權 the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation 龔樞機基金會, said: "This behavior of continuing persecutions of religious believers simply is not in conformity with the behavior that must be demanded of any country, including China, that is to host Olympic Games; otherwise, the spirit of the Olympic Games could be so downgraded by their coexistence with the evil spirit of religious persecutions. A country hosting Olympic Games must be committed to promoting peace through sports, not merely to seeking the financial reward from tourism. China is obviously a country of particular concern for its persecution of innocent religious believers as defined by the State Department of the United States government. Having awarded China the honor to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the Olympic Committee or governments worldwide must not tolerate these atrocious persecutions without any protest and must not turn away from innocent helpless victims. Otherwise, the noble name of "Olympic" could be tarnished by its association with persecutions and human rights violations."