Nuns Arrested in Hong Kong Amid Beijing Crackdowns

Mainland authorities have arrested two Chinese nuns during their visit to Hebei province.

Mainland authorities have arrested two Chinese nuns during their visit to Hebei province.

The nuns, who work at the unofficial Vatican mission in Kowloon were detained for three weeks before they have been released into house arrest without being charged. 

According to one of Catholic clerics with knowledge of the matter, the nuns are forbidden to leave the mainland.

Meanwhile, Western diplomats claim that Chinese security agents have increased surveillance of the mission in recent months.

The arrests, which haven’t been previously reported, are viewed by the high ranking clerics in the Vatican as a sign Beijing wants the mission to discontinue. 

It lacks official standing because the Holy See and China haven’t established formal diplomatic ties. 

While priests are sometimes arrested on the mainland, another of the clerics has noted that “it is highly unusual for nuns to be detained,” who has been on the mainland for a long period of time. “Normally they are left alone.” He added.

There is pressure at the heart of the Church in Hong Kong due to the leadership of the large local diocese.

Senior members of the clergy in Hong Kong have said that Beijing is trying to extend its control over the diocese.

They plan to do this by influencing the choice of the city’s next bishop, which is a position that has been available since the last bishop’s death two years ago. 

Beijing is currently trying to apply to Hong Kong a two-year-old agreement with the Holy See that provides the Chinese government the power to have a significant say in the appointment of bishops on the mainland.

According to Vatican officials, Hong Kong hasn’t been part of the deal because of the city’s semi-autonomous status. 

However, with Beijing currently exerting greater control over Hong Kong, mainland priests have been passing information to other priests in the city regarding which clerics the ruling Communist Party favors to take on the position.

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