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Vatican please explain to China on bishop's arrest

The Vatican has challenged China to reveal its accusations against Bishop Wei Jingyi, who was arrested last week at Harbin airport, in north eastern China.

"Whatever accusations there might be against the arrested bishop, they should be made public, as happens in every State of law," said papal spokesperson Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

"The Holy See, for its part, has no motive for doubting the prelate's innocence," he continued.

Mr Navarro-Valls said the Vatican had learned of the arrest from the international wire services.

Bishop Wei, 46, is one of the youngest bishops of the "underground" Church, which recognises the authority of the Pope but lacks government approval.

The arrested bishop is "known for his fidelity to the Pope and his commitment to evangelisation," said Fr Bernardo Cervellera, director of AsiaNews agency. "For this reason, he has suffered four years of forced labor in two different periods."

Holy See Asks China to Explain Bishop's Arrest (Zenit 10/3/04)

Holy See statement on bishop arrested in China (Independent Catholic News/Vatican Information Service 11/3/04)
Chinese diocese fearful after bishop's arrest (Catholic World News 11/3/04)
Holy see statement on bishop arrested in China (Vatican Information Service 10/3/04)
Vatican official says West needs cultural, religious ties to China (Catholic News Service 9/3/04)
The Holy See asks China to clarify charges against mons. Wei Jingyi ( 10/3/04)

12 Mar 2004