Kidnapped Priest Tortured to Force Him to Join State-Sanctioned Church

09/28/2020 China (International Christian Concern) – A priest from the Diocese of Mindong who was kidnapped by the Chinese government, was tortured during his detention in an effort to solicit his membership in the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA).

Priest Liu Maochun was visiting his parents in a hospital in Guangdong province on September 1, when he was met with police and taken away to an undisclosed location in Fu’an city for interrogation. He was only released 17 days later.

According to Bitter Winter, Fr. Liu was ruthlessly tortured. Officers were banging a gong beside his ear and shone a bright light into his eyes for several consecutive days—a torture method known as “exhausting an eagle” when people are deprived of sleep for a long time.

A source from the diocese told Bitter Winter that his detention was due to his disobedience to the government and that he was “ideologically radical.”

Ever since the Vatican signed the provisional agreement with Beijing on the appointment of bishops, the Chinese government has targeted those loyal to the Holy See and pressured them to join the CPCA. Those who refuse to comply are threatened or forcibly disappeared.

The source also added that Fr. Liu Maochun is the diocese’s auxiliary bishop Guo Xijin’s assistant. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) arrests and wants to control those priests close to him who also refuse to join the CPCA. Another leader in the diocese was also threatened by the government that his house could be demolished and his children sacked if he further supported Bishop Guo’s refusal to join the Patriotic Church.

Someone from the Fu’an city government revealed to Bitter Winter that Fr. Liu Maochun’s arrest was due to his connection to leaks about the torture of Father Huang, another Mindong priest who refuses to join the CPCA. The regime suspects that Fr. Liu may be one of the people who had shared the information about Fr. Huang with foreign media.

The Chinese government is ramping up its crackdown against priests who are loyal to the Vatican by making more arrests. A day after Fr. Liu’s disappearance, the Ningde city Public Security Bureau also ordered to arrest Father Zhu Rutuan, another priest in the diocese, to force him into joining the CPCA. Having been warned, the priest went into hiding, and Bureau officials are now using hi-tech surveillance technology to track him down.