1994-04-29 00:00:00

The secretary general of China´s underground bishops´ conference was under police detention for about three months and two clerics were detained and released over the last month, reports say.

Father Wei Jingyi, 36, from Qiqihar in Heilongjiang, was appointed secretary general of the underground organization after his predecessor, Bishop Paul Liu Shuhe, died in May 1993, Taipei-based Catholic Life Weekly reported April 3.

According to a Catholic source in northern China, he was elected to succeed Bishop Liu at an underground bishops´ representatives´ meeting in July 1993.

The media report said that Father Wei traveled in mid-January from Changchun in Jilin province to visit underground bishops in Hebei province.

The priest went missing Jan. 20, the day after he visited Coadjutor Bishop James Su Zhimin of Baoding, in Qingyuan county, it said.

The Taipei archdiocesan weekly further quoted sources saying Father Wei was locked up at Xushui county detention center in Hebei.

They said Father Wei was on his way Jan. 20 to visit Auxiliary Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang of Yixian. Around noon, as he passed by Xushui, he was caught by police in an ambush and locked up in their station that night.

A month later, his family realized he was being held at the detention center and successfully passed him daily necessities, according to the report. Police nonetheless denied Father Wei was in their custody, it said.

On April 26, an unconfirmed report said he had just been released.

Father Wei took part in the inaugural meeting of the underground bishops´ conference in November 1989 in Zhangerce village, Sanyuan, Shaanxi province.

Among a dozen bishops and priests arrested in connection with the meeting, he was sentenced in March 1991 to three years´ reform-through-labor and reportedly released in March 1993, according to the June 1993 report of Puebla Institute, a Catholic human rights monitor based in Washington.

Meanwhile, a bishop and priest were reportedly detained recently.

-- Clandestinely-ordained Bishop John Baptist Liang Xisheng of Kaifeng in Henan province, central China, was placed under house arrest for one day March 15, a Catholic source said.

The 73-year-old bishop was probably apprehended for his recent meeting with non-Chinese Catholic visitors from outside China, the source added. The bishop was detained again March 20-April 15, according to another source.

-- A young priest of Baoding diocese, Father Wang Xiucheng, was reportedly put in police custody March 30, and released two weeks later, about April 15.

About 10 p.m. March 30, police took Father Wang, who is not affiliated with the government-sanctioned open Church, away from a village in the Renqiu area in Hebei, a Catholic source told UCA News April 12.

The source believed Father Wang was detained due to his position as rector of a seminary in Baoding that is not registered with the government. He is training dozens of seminarians from many places, according to the source.


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