Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. - On November 30, 1994, The Cardinal Kung Foundation reported a mass arrest of Roman Catholics in Jiangxi province.
A similar incident occurred during the 1995 Easter season. Approximately 30-40 Catholics were arrested separately before and after the Easter Sunday on the 13th, 14th, 18th & 19th by the security bureau of Fuzhou in the Jiangxi province. While the major city of those arrested have since been released, twelve persons (see list below) are still detained and are held in various detention centers at Chongren Xien, Yihuang Xien and Linchuan in Jianxi province. The search for the leaders continues by the Security Bureau of the Chinese Government.
However, these mass arrests did not stop some twenty thousand underground Roman Catholics to pray on Easter Sunday atop of Yujiashan mountain which is located on the border of Chongrenxian and Linchuan in Jiangxi province.
Those arrested are lay Catholic leaders of the underground Roman Catholic Church. Their peaceful advocacy is simply the freedom to worship, a right guaranteed by the United Nations' international accord on human rights. China is a signatory of this acco rd. This latest brutal arrest is another vivid example of the pressing issues of religious freedom and human rights in China.
To support the claims of the Chinese government that there is religious freedom in China, foreign Catholic visitors to China are often shown by the Chinese authority many churches which have been reopened during the past decade. These churches belong to the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association which is a non-Catholic organization established and closely controlled by the atheistic Chinese communist government.
Behind the seemingly serene and prayerful scenes in these churches are the continuous suppression, often brutal persecution, of the eight million Roman Catholics loyal to the Pope. They are known as the underground Roman Catholics.
These underground Roman Catholic communities, because of its allegiance to the Pope, are illegal in China. Tens of thousands of these Roman Catholics have been incarcerated in the last 45 years. Thousands perished in prison. Many were shot in public.
As the properties including all churches of the Roman Catholic Church were confiscated decades ago by the Government, the Roman Catholics in China worship in private homes or in the wilderness regardless of the risk of arrest and harsh weather.
We need the support and the conscience of the international community to speak out for those 8 million underground Roman Catholics so that they may also enjoy the religious freedom which we in the United States hold dear.
The twelve detainees are:
1) Gao Jianxiou, Female, 46 years of age
2) GAO Shuyun, Female, 45
3) HUANG Guanghua, Female, 43
4) HUANG Meiyu, Female, 40
5) LU Huiying, Female, 51
6) PAN Kunming, Male, 30
7) Rao Yanping, Female, 18
8) YOU Xianyu, Female, 42
9) WU Yinghua, Female, 30
10) WU Jiehong, Female, 46
11) ZHANG Wenlin, Male, 60, Blind in both eyes
12) ZHU Lianrong, Male, 49