Catholic priests Chen Hekun and Chi Huitian have been forcibly disappeared

(Shijiazhuang, Hebei – May 22, 2024) The Baoding Diocese in Hebei Province, China, is one of the largest underground (unofficial) Catholic groups in China, with a long history and one of the most thriving and populous dioceses. It is also one of the dioceses the Chinese Communist Party has kept a close watch on. Recently, it was reported that two priests from the Baoding Diocese, Hebei Province, went missing last month for no apparent reason.

 

According to the Chinese Catholic news website – Catholic Online, Father Chen Hekun of the Baoding Diocese in Hebei Province was forcibly disappeared from his home in Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, on April 29 this year.

 

Reports indicate that Father Chen Hekun is currently detained in Anxin County. The reasons for his detention by the Chinese authorities are unknown.

 

Father Chen Hekun was born into a devout Catholic family in Anxin County, Baoding City, Hebei Province. He has been a zealous servant of the Lord since childhood. After becoming a priest, he devoted himself to serving the diocese and served as the dean of the Baoding Diocese seminary.

 

Father Chen Hekun is a figure that the Chinese government has always wanted to control. On November 2, 2020, several seminaries in the Baoding Diocese in Hebei Province were raided by the government. At that time, two priests and more than ten seminarians and nuns were taken away by local government officials. On the same day, Father Lu Genjun, former auxiliary bishop of the Baoding Diocese, was also taken away.

 

At that time, Father Chen was fortunate to avoid arrest as he was out, but the police have been continuously tracing his whereabouts since.

 

Now, Father Chen is illegally detained by the authorities, and the faithful of the Baoding Diocese request brothers and sisters to pray for Father Chen, asking the Lord to fill him with the Holy Spirit, to guide and protect him.

 

The report also stated that another priest from the Baoding Diocese, Father Chi Huitian, lost contact with the outside world on April 17 in Baoding. The police revealed that Father Chi has been sent back to his birthplace Xingtai, but the reasons for his detention are unknown.

 

Before receiving clear information about Father Chi’s whereabouts, his family and friends are searching for him anxiously, issuing a plea: “We hope that anyone who knows where he is can help us. At the same time, we also ask you to pray for him and ask the Lord to help him.”

 

Both sides signed a “provisional agreement” on the issue of the appointment of bishops in the Catholic Church in China on September 22, 2018. All previously excommunicated bishops of the official Church were pardoned and recognized by the Vatican. At the same time, taking advantage of the “ambiguous” nature of the provisional agreement, the Chinese government launched a large-scale offensive against the underground Catholic Church. They engaged in educating, persuading, and coercing clergy of the underground Church, pressuring them to sign documents, obtain certificates, and under pressure, urging the underground Church to join the government-approved Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association to achieve superficial “legitimization” and “publicity,” thereby subjecting the Catholic Church to the control of the Chinese government.

 

The underground Catholic group in Baoding is one of the groups in China that has suffered the most severe blows to religious freedom. To this day, the vast majority of clergy from the underground Church have signed documents and obtained certificates for the so-called “legalization,” but there are still a few who refuse. The current “official” diocese is led by Bishop Francis An Shuxin, 77 years old, who is the auxiliary bishop of Baoding. Bishop Francis An Shuxin was once under soft detention for ten years since 1996, and later decided to register with the authorities, leaving the underground group. This led to the “underground” priests and believers no longer recognizing An Shuxin as their bishop.

 

In the past, there have been multiple instances in the Baoding Diocese in Hebei Province where priests have been “governed” and “disappeared.” These forms of restriction of their actions and activities are often targeted at those priests who are unwilling to join official church institutions and who do not comply with the “brainwashing” and political “re-education” conducted by the Chinese Communist Party. During this period, they are required to attend political meetings, and priests may be detained for a long time until they “prove” a change in their thinking and join the government-controlled “official” institutions of the Chinese Church before being released.

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Catholic priests Chen Hekun and Chi Huitian have been forcibly disappeared

(Shijiazhuang, Hebei – May 22, 2024) The Baoding Diocese in Hebei Province, China, is one of the largest underground (unofficial) Catholic groups in China, with a long history and one of the most thriving and populous dioceses. It is also one of the dioceses the Chinese Communist Party has kept a close watch on. Recently, it was reported that two priests from the Baoding Diocese, Hebei Province, went missing last month for no apparent reason.

 

According to the Chinese Catholic news website – Catholic Online, Father Chen Hekun of the Baoding Diocese in Hebei Province was forcibly disappeared from his home in Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, on April 29 this year.

 

Reports indicate that Father Chen Hekun is currently detained in Anxin County. The reasons for his detention by the Chinese authorities are unknown.

 

Father Chen Hekun was born into a devout Catholic family in Anxin County, Baoding City, Hebei Province. He has been a zealous servant of the Lord since childhood. After becoming a priest, he devoted himself to serving the diocese and served as the dean of the Baoding Diocese seminary.

 

Father Chen Hekun is a figure that the Chinese government has always wanted to control. On November 2, 2020, several seminaries in the Baoding Diocese in Hebei Province were raided by the government. At that time, two priests and more than ten seminarians and nuns were taken away by local government officials. On the same day, Father Lu Genjun, former auxiliary bishop of the Baoding Diocese, was also taken away.

 

At that time, Father Chen was fortunate to avoid arrest as he was out, but the police have been continuously tracing his whereabouts since.

 

Now, Father Chen is illegally detained by the authorities, and the faithful of the Baoding Diocese request brothers and sisters to pray for Father Chen, asking the Lord to fill him with the Holy Spirit, to guide and protect him.

 

The report also stated that another priest from the Baoding Diocese, Father Chi Huitian, lost contact with the outside world on April 17 in Baoding. The police revealed that Father Chi has been sent back to his birthplace Xingtai, but the reasons for his detention are unknown.

 

Before receiving clear information about Father Chi’s whereabouts, his family and friends are searching for him anxiously, issuing a plea: “We hope that anyone who knows where he is can help us. At the same time, we also ask you to pray for him and ask the Lord to help him.”

 

Both sides signed a “provisional agreement” on the issue of the appointment of bishops in the Catholic Church in China on September 22, 2018. All previously excommunicated bishops of the official Church were pardoned and recognized by the Vatican. At the same time, taking advantage of the “ambiguous” nature of the provisional agreement, the Chinese government launched a large-scale offensive against the underground Catholic Church. They engaged in educating, persuading, and coercing clergy of the underground Church, pressuring them to sign documents, obtain certificates, and under pressure, urging the underground Church to join the government-approved Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association to achieve superficial “legitimization” and “publicity,” thereby subjecting the Catholic Church to the control of the Chinese government.

 

The underground Catholic group in Baoding is one of the groups in China that has suffered the most severe blows to religious freedom. To this day, the vast majority of clergy from the underground Church have signed documents and obtained certificates for the so-called “legalization,” but there are still a few who refuse. The current “official” diocese is led by Bishop Francis An Shuxin, 77 years old, who is the auxiliary bishop of Baoding. Bishop Francis An Shuxin was once under soft detention for ten years since 1996, and later decided to register with the authorities, leaving the underground group. This led to the “underground” priests and believers no longer recognizing An Shuxin as their bishop.

 

In the past, there have been multiple instances in the Baoding Diocese in Hebei Province where priests have been “governed” and “disappeared.” These forms of restriction of their actions and activities are often targeted at those priests who are unwilling to join official church institutions and who do not comply with the “brainwashing” and political “re-education” conducted by the Chinese Communist Party. During this period, they are required to attend political meetings, and priests may be detained for a long time until they “prove” a change in their thinking and join the government-controlled “official” institutions of the Chinese Church before being released.

News
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Click Here
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