‘Underground’ Priest Released While Two Remain in Custody

( [email protected] ) Aug 13, 2004 11:05 PM EDT

One of three detained “underground” priests of a diocese in eastern China has been released. According to sources, public security officials freed Lu Xiaozhou on July 27 after keeping him in a guesthouse for 13 months.

AsiaNews reported that after numerous requests from Lu’s relatives, public security officials and religious affairs officials released the priest so that he could care for his sick parents. However, the officials have ordered that Lu remain under observation for two months, sources said.

Lu was seized by security officers on June 16, 2003 as he was going to Wenzhou City Hospital to anoint the sick.

Meanwhile, two other priests of Wenzhou diocese, Kong Guocun and Ding Zhaohua, are reportedly still being detained by government officials in guesthouses, despite demands made by their relatives for their release. Kong was detained in October 1999 and Ding in January 2001.