Vatican Radio Reports Two Churchmen Sentenced in China
VATICAN CITY (AP) _ Two officials of the clandestine Roman Catholic Church in China have been sentenced to three years in a labor camp, Vatican Radio said Thursday.
The report from Hong Kong said the two were picking up garbage and cleaning latrines after being sentenced without trial on May 21. The radio did not identify the labor camp or say where it was located.
The officials were identified as Monsignor Peter Liu Guandong, bishop of Yixian, and the Rev. Xu Zhemin, vicar-general of the diocese of Baoding. They were accused of organizing and participating in illegal activities, the radio said.
Liu was earlier reported arrested during a crackdown late last year on clergymen loyal to the pope.
China broke diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 1957 and allows worship only under the guise of the state-sponsored Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church, which consecrates its own bishops.
The church claims more than 3 million members, but an unknown number of Catholics remain secretely loyal to the pope.
Liu participated in a meeting last November that the Vatican Radio described as the first gathering in decades of bishops loyal to the pope.