Catholic World News News Feature
China sentences "underground" priest to 3-year term November 26, 2007
A Chinese Catholic priest has been sentenced to a 3-year prison term for unauthorized religious activities-- pastoral work in the "underground" Church-- the AsiaNews service reports.
Father Wang Zhong of the Xiwanze diocese, in China's Hebei province, was prosecuted for consecrating a new parish church. Although he had a valid building permit from the government's religious-affairs bureau, the priest was evidently charged because he does not recognize the authority of the government-affiliated Catholic Patriotic Association.
Several thousand people, including 21 priests of the underground Church, took part in the consecration ceremonies, AsiaNews says. The priest's prosecution appears to be part of an aggressive new campaign by the Patriotic Association to suppress the activities of the underground Church in the Hebei province.
Bishop Yao Liang, the head of the Xiwanze diocese, was taken into custody by police in July 2006 and remains missing. At least 20 other Catholics of the diocese, including 2 priests, are in prison.
[For a more detailed report see the AsiaNews web site.]