Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. --- Father Wang Wenzhi 王文芝, fifty years old, a priest in the diocese of Yongnian 永年in Hebei, was arrested by Chinese security officials after he finished offering his Mass in a family's private home on December 11, 2005 in Fengfeng City 峰峰市, which is located southwest of the City of Handan 邯鄲市, Hebei. He has been kept in the detention center of Guangping county 廣平縣 ever since. We understand that the Chinese government is attempting to brain-wash and force Father Wang to cooperate with the government in order to join the official communist- established Patriotic Church. We have been informed that the government has not been successful in its attempt to convert Father Wang to their official Church.
Father Wang is one of the first group of priests ordained in the diocese of Yongnian approximately twenty years ago. On December 28 in the detention center of Guangping county he observed his twentieth anniversary of his priestly ordination. Three policemen also escorted him to visit his mother briefly when she celebrated her 80th birthday. Father Wang had been arrested 13 years ago and detained for approximately 18 months.
In the meantime, Bishop Han Dingxiang 韓鼎祥主教of Yongnian has disappeared. He had been arrested by the Chinese government more than six years ago in December 1999. Since then he was kept in a government-run hostel somewhere in the diocese of Yongnian and, up until now, people were sometimes able to get a glimpse of him at his window. But, no longer: he has been transferred to an unknown location and we have no news of him. His health has been poor.
Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: "Obviously, the intensified horror campaign by the Chinese government to force the underground Church religious and faithful to register with the official Patriotic Church is actively ongoing. I urgently call once again on the Olympic Committee to take note of these arrests and to consider canceling the Games in China in 2008 in order to preserve its good name and spirit."