Terry Jeffrey

Two underground Catholic priests from Xuanhua in Hebei Province decided to go anyway, Kung later learned. Forty-two-year-old Father Zhang Jianlin was intercepted by security police as he journeyed through Nanking. He was sent back to Xuanhua, then arrested. Forty-five-year-old Father Zhangli did not even leave Xuanhua. He simply announced he intended to go to Sheshan, and the authorities came and took him someplace else.

On July 13, the Cardinal Kung Foundation put out a press release about Fathers Zhang and Zhangli.

"We have no idea where they are," Kung told me. "We hope that by our press release we will put some pressure on the authorities, and before they decide what to do with them, they will think twice about it."

In China, priests and bishops routinely are arrested or disappear.

"Harassment of unregistered Catholic bishops, priests and laypersons continued, including government surveillance and detentions," the State Department said in its most recent human-rights report on China, which was released in March.

"There are approximately 35 underground bishops in China," the Cardinal Kung Foundation reports. "Every one of them is either in prison, disappeared, under house arrest or under surveillance."

I asked Kung -- whose late uncle, Cardinal Ignatius Kung, spent three decades imprisoned by China's communist regime -- what Americans could do to help.

"The media people should talk more about the religious persecution in China," he said. "They should let the world know what is going on in China regarding the persecution of religious believers, not only for the Roman Catholic Church but for all the churches. The media is not doing its job, its duty."

That is something you could never say about Father Zhang and Father Zhangli.


Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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