Chinese Catholic Clergy Beaten Again

By Huang Kuangchun, Central News Agency
December 21, 2005 12:00 am Last Updated: December 21, 2005 12:00 am

ROME – On December 16, five Catholic clerics were beaten and injured in Tianjin City for requesting the return of illegally confiscated Church's property. This is the second recent incident of violence against Catholic clergy since November 23, when 16 Catholic nuns in the Diocese of Xian City in Shannxi Province were assaulted.

According to Asia News, Italy , which has a close relationship with the Vatican, on December 15 50 Catholic clergy members petitioned the Tianjin Municipal Government for the return of their church's property, which had confiscated by Tianjin authorities. The 48 priests and 2 nuns are from the Taiyuan and Yuci dioceses of Shanxi Province.

Government officials did not respond, but individuals claiming to be from the Bureau of Letters and Calls agreed to arrange a discussion on the condition that all members of the clergy had to leave the scene first. However, the priests refused to do so. In the afternoon, the clerics were allowed to select 12 representatives to meet the Vice-Mayor of Tianjin at the Bureau of Religious Affairs, but nothing resulted from their negotiations.

The next day, December 16, three of the clergymen were stopped on the way back to their diocese house after shopping. When the clergymen inside the house came out to check, more than 30 thugs approached and beat them with iron bars, sticks and bricks, injuring five of the clerics. One of the nuns, Song Zhiying, sustained a serious head injury and is still hospitalized. After the violent attack, the clergy immediately called the police. But when the police arrived at the scene, the perpetrators had already fled. The police disregarded the clergy's request to send the wounded to the hospital. On the contrary, they took the clergy to the police station for inteerogation. After several hours, they were released and were then hospitalized.