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China detains nun in raid

Authorities in southeastern China have detained a nun who was teaching a summer vacation religion class for children, the US-based Cardinal King Foundation says.

26 students under 18 and four chaperones were also detained and released after a day following a police raid on a private home where the class was being held in secret, the Foundation said in a statement released over the weekend.

The nun, identified as Sr Chen Mei, remains in the Lianjiang county detention centre in Fujian province, said the group. It said the raid took place on Thursday in the village of Dong'an in Lianjiang county.

A Dong'an government official on Monday said a group of villagers had been detained last Friday for ``attending an illegal religious activity.''

The official would not say how many people were detained or identify members of the group, but said some children had attended with their parents. Most of those detained have since been released, said the man, who refused to give his name.

A spokesman at the Lianjiang county detention center said around 30 people had been detained last Friday in relation to underground religious activity, but refused to disclose any details.

``We are just in charge of custody. Police are handling the case,'' said the man, who also declined to give his name.

The foundation said the catechism class was organised by members of the underground Catholic church in China, which rejects the authority of the government sanctioned China Patriotic Catholic Association.

In its statement, the Cardinal Kung Foundation accused Chinese authorities of harassing young Catholics in order to pressure them and their parents into abandoning the underground church and joining the Patriotic Association.

Cardinal Kung Foundation


23 Jul 2002