Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. - In the afternoon of July 24, 2007, at the home of a Catholic faithful in the Ximeng 錫盟 region of Inner Mongolia 內蒙古, three underground Roman Catholic priests from Xiwanzi 西灣子, Hebei 河北 were arrested by eight civilian-clothed policemen because they refused to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and because they are loyal and obedient to Pope Benedict. They were hiding in Inner Mongolia in order to avoid the arrests, but they were finally hunted down by the Security Police. The names of these three priests are:
Father LIANG Aijun 梁愛軍, 35 years old, Chong Li county 崇禮縣, Hebei 河北.
Father WANG Zhong 王忠, 41 years old, Gu Yuan county 沽源縣, Hebei 河北.
Father GAO Jinbao 高金寶, 34 years old, Shang Yi county 高金寶, Hebei 河北.
During the initial phase of the arrest, the priests were locked up in an iron cage. They were not allowed to talk to anyone. Water brought to them was refused by the police. They have now all been transferred to an undisclosed location.
In addition, a fourth priest, Father CUI Tai 崔太 of Shuangshu Village 雙樹村, Zhuolu County 琢鹿縣, 50 years old, was involved in a minor motorcycle accident in early July, 2007. After the accident was resolved, the authority transferred him to the public security and religious bureau. He has been detained in the Zhuolu County detention cell ever since. Father CUI has also refused to register with the Patriotic Association. He belongs to the diocese of Xuanhua 宣化教區, Hebei.
Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: "In his China letter published about a month ago on June 30, Pope Benedict, apparently referring to the Patriotic Association, said: 'the proposal for a Church that is 'independent' of the Holy See, in the religious sphere, is incompatible with Catholic doctrine.' The Pope continued to say: 'Many bishops have undergone persecution…..lay faithful….even paying a personal price for their faithfulness to Christ.' The Pope also assured the Chinese government that Catholics can also be "good citizens" and respectfully asked the Chinese government to guarantee them 'authentic religious freedom.'"
"Let us not forget that there are, as far as we know, still five bishops in jail; many other bishops are under house arrests and severe surveillance; and approximately 15 priests and some Catholic lay persons - an unknown number of them - are also in jail. While we need to 'love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us,' as Pope Benedict told us in his China letter, we also need to awaken the world to the ongoing persecution of the Roman Catholic Church in China. The freedom-loving and powerful countries of the world should take into greater consideration - consistently, and persistently, and not haphazardly - all human rights violations in China when forming and implementing their political and commercial decisions in relation to China."
"In the meantime, we urge the Chinese government to take steps immediately to stop all persecution throughout China and release all Roman Catholic bishops and clergy together with those faithful of other faith from prisons as a goodwill gesture to Pope Benedict and to restore the world confidence in its leadership."