In just three hours ago from a Reuters report:Three underground priests – Liang Aijun, Wang Zhong and Gao Jinbao – who have been unwilling to join China’s Catholic Patriotic Church have been detained by plain clothes police in Inner Mongolia, having fled there from neighboring Hebei province, a Catholic stronghold.
From the article:
[Joseph Kung of the Cardinal Kung Foundation] said he did not know if the men have been charged. Another underground priest, Cui Tai, had been detained in Hebei following a minor motorbike accident, he said. Sometimes “underground” clergy are released after days or weeks; sometimes they are held for much longer.
Although a key house church activist in Beijing has been freed Saturday after six months of imprisonment, China has recently deported over 100 missionaries in the largest expulsion since 1954 and China’s intelligence services, government spy agencies and think tanks have been gathering information on foreign groups who might mount protests and spoil the nation’s moment in the spotlight – including evangelical Christian groups.
Meanwhile, a day after the Dalai Lama criticized China’s human rights record while on a visit to the south-western German city of Freiburg Saturday, saying “The economy is booming but the democratization of China is not making any progress,” China has said that it was “pointless” to have talks if the spiritual leader was sticking to his quest for “Tibetan independence.” While insisting that the door for talks remained “wide open,” Nyima Ciren, vice chairman of the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region urged the Dalai Lama to drop his secessionist stance. Other quotes from the vice chairman in the China Daily story include the following:
“If he has really abandoned his pursuit of Tibet independence, he would have taken solid actions. But so far we have not seen any such actions.”
“The channel of communication with the Dalai Lama has been open. Since 1979, 20 personal delegations of the Dalai Lama have visited Tibet or other Tibetan areas.”
“The Dalai Lama is not only a religious figure. He is first and foremost a politician. We are against the Dalai Lama and his separatist activities, not his religion.”
“The majority of Tibetan people support the leadership of the Communist Party of China. However, some people are attempting to overthrow the socialist system with the help of the Dalai Lama and in the name of protecting national interests or religion.”
“We are firmly opposed to such actions. Tibetan people cherish their current happy life as they cherish their eyes”.
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Reuters: China detains three underground priests, group says
The Hindu: China says talks with Dalai Lama ‘pointless’
China Daily: Dalai Lama urged to abandon secessionist stance
DPA: Dalai Lama criticises China on human rights record
World Magazine: Religious cleansing
BosNewsLife: China releases house church activist
AP: China focuses on foreigners who could disrupt ’08 Olympics
Photo of church on Duolun Lu from meckleychina.