Tensions between the Chinese government and unregistered Catholic communities have increased with the detention of four priests last month, according to a report by the Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) of Hong Kong.
The report was submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday in a pre-session meeting ahead of a Periodic Review of China’s human rights record scheduled for Oct 22.
A coalition of eight rights groups from Hong Kong petitioned the UN rights body to address what they said was a worsening human rights record in China.
The report said security officials in early August arrested Fr Song Wanjun, an unregistered priest in Xiwanzi diocese.
“Local authorities often crack down on unregistered communities of the Catholic and Protestant churches, trying to eradicate them,” said a Church source from Luolong district in Henan province who asked not to be named.
The source added that the 39-year-old Fr Song had evaded arrest for months by hiding from authorities.
Three other priests – Frs Shi Weiqiang, Tian Jianmin and Yang Gang, all from Hebei, were also arrested last month, the JPC report noted.
The current whereabouts of all four priests remains unknown.
Originally published at UCAnews on 3 September 2013. Used with permission. All other rights reserved.