Yesterday China has released the seven underground Catholic priests who were arrested near Beijing on 27th April, AFP reported.
In China, the government is very sensitive towards the Catholics Church. It refuses to recognise the authority of the Vatican and the pope over the country's Catholics. The Catholics are only allowed to worship at state-sanctioned churches.
Those who maintain allegiance to the pope and worship in churches outside the government's control are considered underground Catholics.
On Wednesday 27th April, seven underground Catholics from Hebei province in northern China were arrested while they were holding a retreat near Shijiazhuang city led by Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo.
Bishop Jia has been repeatedly detained for refusing to accept government demands to affiliate himself with the Communist Party-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association, which rejects Vatican authority over issues such as the naming of bishops, according to Joseph Kung, the president of the Cardinal Kung Foundation.
The seven priests’ current physical and mental conditions have not been reported clearly while police and local religious affairs officials had denied the arrests, the AFP said.
The seven priests have been identified as Wang Dingshan, Li Qiang, Liu Wenyuan, Zhang Qingcai, Li Suchuan, Pei Zhenping and Yin Zhengsong.
Since the election of the new Pope Benedict XVI, China has showed a small willingness to improve its relationship with the Vatican, but under the condition that Pope Benedict XVI stays out of its internal affairs and severes diplomatic ties with Taiwan.