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Press Release - February 23, 2006

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

Two Underground Roman Catholic Priests Arrested in Hebei
Bishop Jia Zhiguo is still in Detention

Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. --- Father LU Genjun 鹿根君, 44 years old, and Father GUO Yanli 郭彥利, 39 years old, who belong to the diocese of Baoding 保定 in Hebei 河北, were arrested by Chinese security officials on February 17 last week while waiting for a friend at the Baoding train station. Father GUO was sent to Xushui County 徐水縣 detention center while Father Lu was sent to an undisclosed location. We do not know why they were arrested and have no other information on their arrests.

Father Lu was previously arrested on Palm Sunday, April 5, 1998 for a short period and was arrested again shortly before Easter in 2001 and detained for three years in the Gao Yang County 高陽縣 labor camp in Hebei. Shortly after his release from the labor camp, he was arrested again on May 14, 2004 for an unknown period. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1990.

Father Guo has no previous arrest record. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1998.

Bishop Jia Zhiguo 賈志國 who was arrested on November 8, 2005 is still detained. We do not know where he is being held. Bishop Jia is 70 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. As far as we know, this is the eighth time that he has been arrested since January 2004.

Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, stated: "On September 1, 2005, we wrote a letter to President Hu Jintao 胡錦濤 of People's Republic of China, appealing to him "to bring modern China into an era of true religious freedom," reasoning with him that "a country without religious freedom is never peaceful and constructive" and challenging him to realize "the importance of changing the world's perception of China's human rights policy for the better." We also not only appealed to President Hu that "all these (religious) prisoners, both living and dead, be officially and posthumously exonerated of so called crimes, some as long as five decades ago," but also appealed to him "to release all current religious prisoners from prison and labor camp…" We concluded that "to do so will be a powerful testimony to the Chinese government's respect for and adherence to human rights and liberty. To do so will also prove that China is honoring the spirit of the Olympic Games that (she) will have the honor of hosting in 2008."

Unfortunately, President Hu has never replied to our appeals, and instead, the arrests of religious believers continue. I ask that President Hu's attention be directed to our appeals and that he give an order to his government to rectify the situation. He has the power and authority to do so. Otherwise, the Olympic Committee should take note of these arrests and decide whether or not China's continuous persecutions of innocent religious believers is in conformity with the spirit of the Olympic games and whether or not the Committee should consider canceling the Games in China in 2008 in order to preserve its good name and spirit of the Olympic games."