Date: May 1, 2018
“The Catholic Church in the province of Henan, in central China, is violently persecuted,” according to reports received from the Vatican-connected Catholic wire agency AsiaNews. The Catholic agency reported that the plaque and the tomb of Mgr. Li Hongye (1920–2011), the former bishop of Luoyang for the “underground” Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See (not to be confused with the “patriotic” Catholic Church, whose bishops are appointed by the regime), was desecrated and destroyed on April 19. A coordinated action against “underground” Catholic churches was conducted during the month of April.
A church in the village of Hutuo (Xicun, Gongyi) in the diocese of Luoyang was completely destroyed. The prayer books, hymn books and Bibles were forcibly taken away from three of the parishes of the diocese of Zhengzhou, namely Shuanghuaishu Parish, Jiayu Parish, and Youfang Parish. Several churches were raided on Sunday to enforce the ban against participation by minors in religious activities. According to AsiaNews, “the government threatened the faithful with sinister means of ‘not allowing Catholic children to go to school’ and ‘deducting the 60 yuan government subsidy per month from the Catholic elders.’ They even went to Catholic families door-to-door and told them: ‘Now, believing in religion is no longer allowed by the government, and whoever believes in it, your children will not be allowed to go to school; your elders’ subsidies will be deducted; and if you still do not listen to this advice, you will be expelled from public office; and if there are retirees at home, their pension will be stopped.’”
The government officials broke the religious tiled couplets at the sides of the doors of the local Catholics’ houses and conducted door-to-door publicity campaigns against religious beliefs. On April 17, the church in Xincun, diocese of Anyang, was raided by Public Security officers, and they pulled away the church’s sacred object. On the same day, April 17, the government ordered the church of the North Xishang in Jiaozuo Newly Developed Area to demolish its cross; the church finances were confiscated. On April 19, the church of Hutuo Village in Xicun Township of Gongyi City was demolished.