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China

Chinese priest goes missing in Zhejiang province

Father Lu Danhua has been out of contact since government officials took him away just after Christmas

Updated: January 10, 2018 06:05 AM GMT
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 Chinese priest goes missing in Zhejiang province

Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou was spotted by local Catholics at Wenzhou airport on June 14, 2017. He was being escorted by government officials, said a church source. (Photo supplied)

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Father Lu Danhua of Lishui Diocese of China’s eastern Zhejiang province has been missing since government officials suddenly took him away just after Christmas.

He is the only priest of Lishui Diocese and his predecessor was Kenneth Roderick Turner of Scarboro Foreign Mission Society from 1948 to 1983. Wenzhou Diocese subsequently administered Lishui Diocese.

Father Lu was ordained by underground church Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou on Dec. 14, 2016, and has served Lishui Diocese up to now.

Bishop Shao was released by authorities Jan. 3 after being detained since May 2017. A source who did not want to be named told ucanews.com that the reason for taking Father Lu away was not related to Bishop Shao.

But he said authorities had stated that Father Lu needed to go to Wenzhou for “re-educating” on new religious regulations coming into effect Feb. 1 and that he would return after obtaining a permit to be a priest.

At noon on Dec. 29, officials of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) took Father Lu away from a priests’ dormitory.

A Catholic who witnessed the incident told ucanews.com that the officials claimed Father Lu was only going for a brief chat.

The next day, the Catholic went to SARA’s office where officials claimed Father Lu had already been released. But he remains missing and calls to his mobile phone have not been answered.

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