Chinese authorities announced that 11 suspects were detained for the alleged beating of a group of nuns, after a few days of investigation.
A man, who identified himself as Liu, from press affairs office of the Public Security Bureau in the city of Xian, has confirmed the detentions on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press (AP). However, Liu has refused to give further details about the case or reveal the identity of those suspects.
The beating has been widely reported by foreign press.16 nuns of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sacred Heart Missionaries in downtown of the Xian City, Shanxi Province were injured, after a group of 40 young thugs repeatedly beat them on the night of Nov. 23, according to the U.S.-based Chinese persecution watchdog China Aid Association (CCA).
The unrest was believed to be triggered by a land dispute between the convent and the local authorities. The nuns have been staging a protest for several days to protect it from being demolished.
The Chinese authorities have changed the attitude towards the alleged persecution significantly under international pressure over the last 20 days. Right after the incident, a Chinese Catholic website that gave a detailed report was found to be closed, the news was no longer available even after the site reopened, sources say.
The Vatican has issued a statement regarding the persecution. It stated, "Violence against some defenceless nuns in Xian can only be firmly condemned."
In a letter to the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. from the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee (USCCB) on International Policy, the Bishops’ Conference demanded the Chinese government for a full investigation.