May 23, 2001
His Excellency YANG Jiechi
Ambassador of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Dear Mr. Ambassador,
I write today to express our deep concern about the reported arrest and detention in recent weeks of a significant number of Catholics in China.
Among those reported to have been arrested are the aged Bishop Matthias PEI Xiande of Beijing, and Bishop SHI Enxiang of Yixian. Also reported arrested shortly before the Feast of Easter, April 15 of this year, were four priests from the Baoding Diocese, including the second vicar general, Father LU Genjun (or LU Genyou), and several other priests and lay Catholics in various parts of the country.
The denial of religious freedom, particularly to members of unregistered churches such as the several million Roman Catholics not affiliated with the Catholic Patriotic Association, has long been of concern to the Catholic Bishops of the United States. We have in the past registered our concerns with your Embassy, unfortunately without the courtesy even of a response.
By all accounts, there seems to have been a marked increase in the number and severity of actions taken by the State against many of our fellow Catholics in China, as well as against other religious believers there. This is a very disturbing development. I would appreciate learning that this unacceptable situation has been corrected and I ask that you communicate to Beijing these concerns of the Catholic Church in the United States.
Thanking you for your early consideration of this matter, I remain
Bernard Cardinal Law
Archbishop of Boston
Committee on International Policy
United States Catholic Conference