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Bishop disappears, priests confined, convents closed

In the past month, police have arrested a Chinese bishop and his assistant, confined 12 priests for indoctrination courses, closed a monastery and two convents, and sent seminarians, monks and nuns home.

All these persons are part of an underground Catholic community which refuses to join the Patriotic Association.

The crackdown was reported in yesterday's edition of the Italian daily newspaper La Republica, the Catholic diocese of Feng Xiang in Shaanxi in Central China could disappear.

Bishop Lucas Li Jingfeng and his assistant have both disappeared since their arrest.

Quoting "local sources", La Republica said that police went to Feng Xiang cathedral and took Bishop Lucas Li telling him to "pack a lot of clothes" for a "long journey" and a long political session. The security officers told the Bishop "the government says you are invited".

The 81 year old Bishop was taken with his assistant to an unknown locality. Nothing is known of their whereabouts since 4 November.