Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. --- Seven priests belonging to the Diocese of Zhengding 正定, Heibei 河北 were arrested at 5:30 pm April 27 Bejing time in Wuqiu Village 武邱村 of Jinzhou city 晉州市. These seven priests had traveled from their parishes for a religious retreat conducted by Bishop Jia Zhiguo who had just been released from 24-hour surveillance during the period of approximately March 30 to April 25 when Pope John Paul II was dying and when the new Pope Benedict XVI was elected. The mass arrest of priests was made by the Security Bureau of Shijiszhuang 石家庄, officers of the religious bureau, and dozens of police riding in nine police cars. Bishop Jia was warned by the Public Security and religious bureaus not to initiate any religious activities. The seven priests were sent to the Security Bureau of their respective parishes as stated below.
The arrested priests are: (All ages are approximated) Fathers WANG Dingshan 王進山 (50), LI Qiang 李強 (31), and LIU Wenyuan 劉文元 (35) from Gaocheng 蒿城市. Father Zhang Qingcai 張慶才 (45) from Wuji 無極縣 County. Father LI Suchuan 李素川 (40) from Zhaoxian 趙縣. Father PEI Zhenping 裴正平 (43) from Luancheng. Father Yin Zhengsong 尹正松 (32) from Dingzhou.
Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: "it defies logic. How could the Chinese government on one hand proclaim to Pope Benedict XVI and the world their willingness to improve the relationship between China and the Vatican, and on the other hand keep arresting the Pope's priests? It is quite obvious that the desire expressed by the Chinese government to improve its relationship with the Vatican is less than sincere."